Not many years ago, Hillegeist and Epstein, from Gallaudet University, wrote that 'while there is no question that the increase in difficulty of the mathematical concepts is an important factor in mathematical comprehension and there seems to exist an effect on comprehension specifically related to language. The special role of language in mathematics is a factor in the educational success of deaf students. However,they add that at this point (1987), the nature of the language effect is not completely clear. (Hillegeist&Epstein, 1987). Reading this statement led me to the purpose of this project, which is to review literature that will examine the areas of critical period and language development of deaf children: core knowledge and cognitive development with regard to the impact on deaf students and mathematical instruction: and deaf students' mathematical progress based on the National Council for Teacher's of Mathematics standards (NCTM).Focus is on the critical period for language acquisition, core knowledge and current mathematical instruction methods of deaf students to analyze the consequences for deaf education in the area of mathematics. The importance of early language acquisition is noted. AIternative ideas and observations from contemporary research related directly to: the unique connection between cognitive development and language acquisition: the construction of knowledge by children, and NCTM standards are summarized regarding learning mathematics. The goal is to synthesize the most current literature and perhaps suggest ways in which educators of the deaf can contribute to the development of the higher-order processing and cognitive skills necessary for their successful post-secondary study of mathematics.
Department, Program, or Center
Master of Science of Secondary Education of Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (NTID)
Barrett, Elizabeth, "Mathematics: it's all about language" (2005). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus