Listening portion of exam unfair to hard of hearing students, association says
Department says listening component key part of language arts program
The listening component of a high school exam is raising concerns from the province's Hard of Hearing Association.
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Leon Mills, executive director of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association-Newfoundland and Labrador, said the English 3201 exam contains a listening element.
"Not everybody is going to hear what's being said," Mills told CBC News during a recent interview.
"To us, it just doesn't make sense."
Mills said he's heard from people who are concerned about the exam, and the possibility that some students would be negatively affected by it.
Students accommodated, department says
Despite those concerns, the department of Education and Early Childhood Development said hard of hearing students are being accommodated.
In developing the listening component, the department involved American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, and student supports services program specialists.
In a statement, the department said a variety of tools are used to assist students — such as ASL, speech reading, assistive technology, extra time, quiet space, and opportunities for repeat instruction.
"The Department of Education will say students are accommodated in the classroom ... based on their needs," Mills said. "That may be fine with people with milder hearing loss but people with more significant hearing loss, an accommodation may not always work."
Several years ago, Mills said, a similar listening component was scrapped from the curriculum because of issues for hard of hearing students.
"I hope smarter heads prevail and realize this is an unnecessary burden to place on students with hearing loss."
Mills said the association is contacting the department about the exam.