Asee peer logo

Stepwise Method For Deaf And Hard Of Hearing Stem Students In Solving Word Problems

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

New Learning Paradigms I

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1093.1 - 15.1093.7



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Gary Behm Rochester Institute of Technology

visit author page

Gary Behm is a Senior Project Associate and Director of the NTID Center on Access Technology Innovation Laboratory and a Visiting Lecturer at NTID. He is a deaf engineer at IBM who received his BS from RIT and his MS from Lehigh University. He currently serves as a loaned executive at NTID/RIT working in the Center on Access Technology and the department of Engineering Studies. At IBM, he is a delivery project manager in the Rapid Application Development Engineering System. Behm has six patents and has presented over 20 scientific and technical papers at various professional conferences.

visit author page


Jeanne Behm Rochester Institute of Technology

visit author page

Jeanne Behm is a visiting ASL instructor at Rochester Institute of Technology / National Technical Institute for the Deaf. She has been involved in home education for about 20 years. ASL education in continuing education, community college, and the Deaf community has been her passionate involvement. She received her B.S. from RIT then worked for IBM Corporation for several years prior to home education.

visit author page


Scott Bellinger Rochester Institute of Technology (COE)

visit author page

Scott Bellinger is an assistant professor in the Automation Technologies program at The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID). Scott served as the Director of Manufacturing Technologies at RIT's Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS) before joining NTID. He has more than twenty years of experience in developing manufacturing systems with a specialty in factory automation. He served as Applications Engineer, Proposals Engineer, Project Manager and Application Engineering Manager at Hansford Assembly & Test Systems (NY); Director of Applications Engineering at Wes-tech Automation Systems (IL); and Vice-president of Engineering at Cox Automation (IL).
Scott has received an MS in Manufacturing Management and Leadership from RIT in 1997 and a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 1984.

visit author page


Joseph Stanislow Rochester Institute of Technology

visit author page

Joseph Stanislow is a faculty in the Information and Computing Studies Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology / National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Joe has been teaching and tutoring computer and information technology to AOS/AAS/AS/BS students for over 9 years. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a Master of Science in Computer Science from Stevens Institute of Technology. Before joining the NTID faculty he worked for several companies as an electrical engineer, a physical designer, and a computer programmer for over 20 years.

visit author page

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

StepWise Method for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing STEM Students in Solving Word Problems


At National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), a large percentage of the deaf / hard of hearing (d/hh) students enrolled in college level studies are challenged by their English and mathematical skills.1 Because of these two critical skills areas, they struggle to master the interpretation of a word problem or written instructional manuals to a problem in order to derive a correct solution.

The StepWise procedural method was developed as a general step-by-step guideline for students to follow in solving a scientific, technological, engineering, or mathematical problem or the instructions of a word problem. The goal was to help d/hh STEM students focus on their English, mathematical and critical thinking skills while they sort through word problems. Based on several observations, some d/hh students who benefit from this method appear to have increased comprehension of the steps necessary to solve a word problem. If the resulting answer does not match the expected answer, StepWise allows students to redo the process.

This StepWise method was developed and implemented during the winter of 2009 when the students struggled in an engineering course with physics and math emphases. This method will be tested in other engineering and information technology courses. In some programming courses, this method is available to students who develop software and web applications. Other applications are under investigation.

Results for students who utilized the StepWise method will be presented and discussed. While the preliminary findings look promising, more work needs to be addressed. The goal of this paper is to share the preliminary findings and to collect feedback from the instructors at the conference.


At NTID, a large percentage of the deaf / hard of hearing (d/hh) students enrolled in college level studies are challenged by their insufficiently developed English and mathematical skills. Because of a weakness in these two critical skills areas, they struggle to understand word problems and instruction manuals, which make it very difficult for them to find correct solutions.

It has been well documented that the majority of the deaf population has some degree of reading and writing challenges. The root of the problem is a lack of communication, especially during the early years. In our society, hearing people acquire their first language from what is spoken around them, chiefly from their parents and from other children. English as a spoken language is very rich, and with our technologies, people gather information through various audio mediums. Even considering syntax, spoken language usually has its own set of grammatical patterns that may be quite different from written language. Being deaf, especially at birth, affords a person very limited ways to acquire the language through hearing and speaking.

Behm, G., & Behm, J., & Bellinger, S., & Stanislow, J. (2010, June), Stepwise Method For Deaf And Hard Of Hearing Stem Students In Solving Word Problems Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16737

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015