Integrated Educational Programmes in Plateau State, Nigeria

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1 Journal of Modern Education Review, ISSN , USA August 2014, Volume 4, No. 8, pp Doi: /jmer( )/ /006 Academic Star Publishing Company, Degree of Loss and Reading Achievement of Pupils with Special Needs in Integrated Educational Programmes Charity Ashelo Andzayi 1, Emmanuel Uminya Ikwen 2, Abu Egwa Ozegya 1, Emmanuel Agbo Owobi 1 (1. Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Education, University of Jos, Nigeria; 2. Department of Special Education, Faculty of Education, University of Calabar, Nigeria) Abstract: The paper examined the degree of loss and reading achievement of pupils with special needs in mainstreamed educational programme in Plateau state, Nigeria. The purpose of the study was to find out the effects of degree of loss on reading achievement of pupils with special needs in the categories of visual impairment, hearing impairment, and learning disabilities. One research question and two hypotheses were posed for investigation. The study utilized both correlational and causal comparative designs (expost factor). Thirty (30) subjects participated in the study. The instruments used included 100 high frequency words, and reading texts which were equally brailled for pupils with visual impairment. Results indicated that the general reading ability of the pupils with special needs was poor and at frustration level. It is poorer in word recognition than reading achievement of the pupils with mild and those with moderate degrees of disabilities following the intervention. Based on these findings, the researchers made some recommendations for the improvement of reading ability of pupils with special needs in integrated programmers. Key words: degree of loss, reading achievement, pupils with special needs, educational programme 1. Introduction and Background to the Study The ability to read is one of the most distinguishing characteristics of human beings. Nowadays, most information is compiled in printed form, and pupils in any academic setting are expected to learn to read regardless of their disabilities. Pupils with special needs in the inclusive school settings receive instruction in reading alongside their counterparts without disabilities. However, the method of instruction varies depending on the nature and the degree of the disabilities. Pupils with special needs are those who experience or manifest more than the usual difficulties and problems in learning and training, normally offered in regular schools. Obani (2006) states that pupils with special education needs form a significant proportion, -25% or below of every school or Charity Ashelo Andzayi, Professor, Department of Special Education & Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Education, University of Jos; research areas/interests: special education learning disabilities, children s literature and reading disability. Emmanuel Uminya Ikwen, doctor, Department of Special Education, Faculty of Education, University of Calabar; research areas/interests: reading instruction and remediation in beginning reading in primary schools. Abu Egwa Ozegya, Lecturer, Department of Special Education & Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Education, University of Jos; research areas/interests: reading instruction and remediation in secondary school students with hearing impairment. Emmanuel Agbo Owobi, Lecturer, Department of Special Education & Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Education, University of Jos; research areas/interests: reading instruction and remediation in primary school pupils with hearing impairment in inclusive educational setting. 623

2 classroom. They include those with physical or functional impairments as visual impairments, hearing impairment, learning disabilities or intellectual disabilities. The author added that in recent times, more views have widened the range to include those who are socially, physically and culturally disabled. It also includes those with behavioural, emotional and attention disorders that negatively affect their school life and learning. The integrated educational settings incorporate all these categories and provide instructional accommodations that facilitate their reading achievement. It must be appreciated that despite different categories of pupils with special needs in the inclusive settings, their degree of loss equally varies. The degree of loss is the extent to which a particular disability has affected the individual. Davis (1988), states that the degrees of disabilities range from slight/mild to severe/profound or extreme loss. Variations in these degrees have the tendency of affecting the reading achievement of pupils in the school system such that the mean age deviation scores of pupils with disabilities of varying types in an academic environment declines as the degree of disabilities become more severe (Cruickshank, 1971). These groups of pupils are considered as exceptional and meeting their reading needs will have to include concrete and concerted reading activities. Reading is a process involving the interaction of language and thought as language is decoded and meaning is reconstructed. It is a complex skill that contains a number of sub-skills including: reading to answer questions and implied meaning; reading for relationship of thoughts; faster reading; intensive reading and extensive reading (Akinrinade & Ajobiowe, 2006). Furthermore, scholars in special needs education, Andzayi and Umolu (2004) stated that the visually impaired, hearing impaired and learning disabled usually have limited experiences for language and concept development and may also have listening comprehension problems. These may be due to either the nature, severity of handicapping condition or not being exposed to early reading texts. Also, Jensema (1975), Ozegya (2007) reported that variable factors such as nature and degree of loss have significant influence on the academic achievement of pupils with special needs. The authors concluded that the academic achievement scores steadily decline as the degree of loss becomes more severe. However, studies related to reading comprehension achievement involving a comprehension model revealed higher reading comprehension gains among pupils in third-grade classrooms (Scharlach, 2008). Similarly, Guthrie (2002) has reported that ability to comprehend texts develops through a variety of purposive, motivated reading activities. By fostering pupils to become active, engaged readers, teachers or reading specialists encourage pupils to gain competence and a sense of self-efficacy. These studies are pointers to the fact that when pupils are engaged in varieties of reading activities, the tendency for mastery of reading and positively responding to text items can be achieved. In the context of this study, pupils with special needs include those with visual and hearing impairments as well as those with specific learning disabilities in the area of reading. Similarly, degree of loss here is viewed as the extent to which the disabilities affect an individual s ability to read with understanding. These may be classified into mild, moderate severe and profound loss for these with hearing impairment and learning disabilities. Other classifications include those with partial sightedness low vision and total blindness (Winzer, 1990; Sykes & Ozoji, 1992). It is expected that, pupils with special educational needs present different degrees and could perform differently in reading achievement. It is against this background that a scientific study of this nature was undertaken. 624

3 1.1 Statement of Problem Normally, success in academics presupposes that an individual is able to read the content of a text independently. Pupils with special needs in the study area are those with visual impairment, hearing impairment, and learning disabilities at Ganaka International School; Model Teaching Centre, University of Jos and School for the Blind Gindiri who have difficulty in reading. This is manifested in their efforts to through the text of their class level. Reasons attributed to such reading failures are due to lack of interest, good reading instruction, early exposure to reading among others. These pupils seem to have difficulties in ability to decode information inherent in word recognition as well as in reading text. Supporting the above assertion, Andzayi, Ozegya, Attah and Bodang (2009) reported that children with special needs (visually impaired, hearing impaired; and learning disabled) demonstrate depressed academic scores especially in content area reading. The authors believe that these problems can be improved through exposure of pupils with special needs to varieties of reading experiences. 1.2 Purpose of the Study This study aimed at investigating the effect of degree of loss on reading achievement of pupils with special needs in the category of visually impaired, hearing impaired and learning disabled in integrated schools in Plateau State, Nigeria. Specifically, the purposes include: (1) To ascertain the reading achievement of pupils with special needs as it relates to their degree of loss. (2) To compare the reading ability of pupils with special needs using various degrees of loss. 1.3 Research Question TO what extent can degree of loss effect reading achievement, of pupils with special needs in the integrated educational settings? Hypotheses Ho1: There is no significant mean difference between the reading achievement of pupils with mild and those with moderate degree of loss. Ho2: There is no significant mean difference between the reading achievement of pupils with severe and those with profound degree of loss. 2. Methodology 2.1 Design This study adopted both co-relational and casual comparative design. The nature of the design is expost-factor aimed at ascertaining whether or not degree of loss affects the reading achievement of the subjects. It is also aimed at comparing the reading achievement of the subjects based on the various degrees of loss. The activities used during the intervention include shared reading; vocabulary recognition; and reading from texts. The population of this study is made up of visually impaired (VI), hearing impaired (H.I) and learning disabled (L.D) pupils in the fifth-grade level of the integrated educational settings. A sample of 30 subjects was carefully selected through purposive random sampling technique. This is essential in order to give each category the opportunity of being involved in the study. The study utilized both descriptive and inferential statistics for the analysis of data collected from the field. 625

4 2.2 Instruments The instruments used for this study included 100 high frequency and interest words developed and validated by (Umolu, 1985) the reading interest words were generated from reading materials of the pupils through, texts and books. Also shared reading approach comprising of storytelling books and reading of texts for the (L.D), signed (H.I) and Braille version for (V.I) pupils class level. Similarly, medical and Audiometric test results indicating configurations in the degree of loss for pupils wit hearing impairment were ascertained and used as bases for classification. 2.3 Method of Data Collection At first, the 100 high frequency and interest words were administered on pupils to test their words recognition skills. Later, the intervention was carried out through exposure of the pupils to varieties of reading activities ranging from shared reading and reading from text/books of their class level. The texts were transcribed into Braille for the (V.I) and signed for the (H.I) pupils. The results of the test were organized and compared following the research question and hypotheses. 3. Results After 3 months of intervention, the data collected and analyzed were summarized in the subsequent tables. 3.1 Research Question To what extent can degree of loss affect reading achievement of pupils with special needs in the integrated educational settings? Table 1 Showing Mean and S.D of Vocabulary Acquisition and Reading Achievement of Pupils with Special Needs Word Recognition Reading Achievement Categories Degrees of Loss N = 30 Mean SD Mean SD H.I Mild L.D Moderate Severe Profound V.I Partial Sightedness Low Sightedness Low Vision Total Blindness Table 1 presents the mean and standard deviation of the degree of loss of the VI, H.I, and L.D, The results shown in Table 1 give a clear relationship between degree of loss and reading performances of pupils with special needs. The mean scores of the subjects steadily decline as the degree of loss becomes more severe. The depressed scores are apparent in word recognition than in reading achievement. This finding corroborates with the observation earlier made in literature by Sykes and Ozoji (1992) that degree of loss has significant influence on reading achievement of pupils with special needs. 3.2 Hypothesis One There is no significant mean difference between the reading achievement of pupils with mild and those with 626

5 moderate degree of loss. To test this hypothesis, a Comparison of the reading achievement scores of pupils with mild and moderate degree of loss were computed and summarized below: Table 2 Summary of r-scores and Reading Achievement of Pupils with Special Needs Degree N X X 2 Y 2 XY Cal. r Crit. r df Level Mild Moderate Using the deviation method of the Pearson product moment correlation co-efficient, at the degree of freedom of 4 and level of significant of.05, the calculated r is 0.94 which is > than the critical value at.878. This means that the null hypothesis is rejected as differences exist between the reading achievement of pupils with mild and moderate degree of loss in favour of those with mild loss, 3.3 Hypothesis Two There is no significant mean difference between the reading achievement of pupils with severe and those with profound degree of loss. In order to ascertain the validity of this statement, a summary of the computed statistic is hereby presented. Table 3 Summary of r-scores and Reading Achievement of Pupils with Special Needs Degree N X X 2 Y 2 XY Cal. R Crit. r df Level Severe Profound At the degree of freedom of 9 and level of significance of.05, the calculated r is which is < than the critical value of r.632. This means that the null hypothesis is accepted. This signifies that, there is no significant difference between the reading performance of pupils with severe and profound disabilities. 4. Discussion It should be noted that data for comparison of reading achievement were grouped and analyzed on the bases of degree of loss not nature of disabilities. The data in table one depicts that the general reading ability of the pupils with special needs is poor at frustration level. This can be attested to by the mean and S.D of the subjects. It is poorer in word recognition than reading achievement. However, individuals with visual impairment recorded higher mean scores than other categories of impaired pupils. It can be observed that the mean scores decreases as the degree of loss become severe. This finding corroborates with the literature of Jensema (1975), Ozegya (2007) who observed that variable factors such as nature and degree of loss have significant influence on the academic achievement of pupils with special needs and that the mean deviation of pupils with special needs steadily declines as the degree of loss becomes more severe. Similarly, Andzayi et al. (2009) reported that visually impaired, hearing impaired and learning disabled pupils demonstrate depressed academic scores especially in content area reading. The first hypothesis revealed that differences exist in the reading achievement of pupils with mild and those with moderate degree of loss. The difference is in favour of those with mild degree of loss. On the contrary, no significant difference was observed between the reading performance of those with severe and profound degree of loss in the second hypothesis. Even though, a slight difference could be noticed in the mean score in favour of 627

6 those with profound loss probably because of the influence of visually impaired pupil s performance which rates higher compared to others, this difference is however statistically insignificant. It is quite interesting to equally note that while the mean scores of the subjects in word recognition skills was poor, the scores in the reading achievement after intervention indicated an improved reading performance. These findings synchronize/with the literature of Schlarlach (2008) who reported a higher reading comprehension gain among pupils in third-grade classroom through a comprehension model. In a related development Guthrie (2002) stated that ability to comprehend a text develops through a variety of purposeful, motivated reading activities and concluded that when pupils are engaged in reading, they would become active and competent readers. 5. Recommendations Based on these findings, the following recommendations are hereby suggested for teachers, parents and reading specialists: (1) Pupils with special needs are encouraged to intensify interest in reading regardless of their degree of loss. (2) Reading specialists and teachers should endeavour to expose pupils with special needs to varieties of reading experiences such as the one adopted. Reading material could be enlarged print, braille or adopted signs for use based on the unique nature of the pupil s disability. References Akinrinade E. O. and Ajobiowe T. (2006). Under achievement in reading INRJ comprehension: A base of academic achievement, The Journal Advocacy and Rehabilitation in Special Education, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp Andzayi C. A., Ozegya A. E., Attah B. C. and Bodang J. E. (2007). Developing of content area reading skills: Implication for academic performance of pupils with special needs in an inclusive educational setting, in: S. Andema & K. Adoo- Adeku (Eds.), Literacy Development in Africa: Some Issues of Concern, Ghana: Ghana Reading Association. Andzayi C. A. and Umolu J. (2004). Reading instruction in primary and secondary schools (revised edition), Jos: Department of Special Education, University of Jos. Cruickshank K. (1971). Psychology of Exceptional Children and Youth, USA: Prentice Hall, Inc. Davis J. (1988). Management of school age child: A psycho-social perspectives, in: F. H. Bess (Ed.), Hearing Impairment in Children, Parton, MD: York Press. Guthrie J. T. (2002). Preparing students for high stakes test taking in feeding, in: A. E. Farstrup & S. J. Samuels (Eds.), What Research Has to Say about Reading Instruction (3rd ed.), Newark, JE: International Reading Association, pp Jensema C. (1975). The Relationship between Academic Achievement and the Demographic Characteristics of Hearing Impaired Pupils and Youth, USA: Gallaudet Office of Demographic Studies. Obani T. C. (2006). Special education and special educational needs, in: F. C. Obani (Ed.), Teaching Pupils with Special Education Needs in the Regular UBE Classroom, Ibadan: Oluben Printers. Ozegya A. E. (2007). Effect of onset of deafness on academic performance of heading impaired academic pupils in Lagos State, Journal of Educational Studies, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp Schlarach T. D. (2008). START comprehending: Students and teachers actively reading text, in: R. B. Cooter & J. H. Perkins (Eds.), The Reading Teacher: A Journal of Research-Based Classroom Practice, Vol. 62, No. 1, USA: International Reading Association. Sykes K. C. and Ozoji E. D. (1992). Teaching Blind Low Vision Pupils, Zaria: Ahmadu Bello University Press Ltd. Winzer M. (1990). Pupils with Exceptionalities Prentice, Hall Canada Inc: Scarborough, Ontario. 628

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