Title page for ETD etd-08142006-110118

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Scholz, Joseph T.
URN etd-08142006-110118
Title Determining effects of text-to-speech synthesis in a multimedia learning environment on science achievement for students with learning disabilities in reading
Degree PhD
Department Teaching and Learning
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Sanders, Mark E. Committee Chair
Asche, F. Marion Committee Member
LaPorte, James E. Committee Member
Magliaro, Susan G. Committee Member
Nelson, Bonnie E. Committee Member
  • speech
  • learning disabilities
  • high school
  • students
  • achievement
  • science
  • private school
  • multimedia
Date of Defense 1995-04-01
Availability unrestricted

The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of text-to-speech in a multimedia learning environment on science achievement for students with learning disabilities in reading. The researcher examined how student achievement on unit tests was related to their participation with the experimental treatment. A secondary purpose of the study was to determine whether students prefer the combination of digitized audio and text, or text alone.

The researcher used a quasi-experimental, counter-balanced, post-test only design for the study. Qualitative information was collected using post experiment individual and small group interviewing techniques.

The sample used in this study was selected from students enrolled at The Forman School, a private school specializing in the education of students with learning disabilities. Specifically, the sample consisted of students with dyslexic reading problems. This independent school is located in Connecticut and currently uses multimedia in daily instruction. The sample consisted of 22 students enrolled in life science classes. The students' ages ranged from 13-19 years and the grade levels ranged from 9-12. Intact, pre-grouped students were randomly assigned to the experimental groups.

The main thrust of the study was to examine the effect on achievement of the type of instruction (with and without text-to-speech synthesis) applied. The experimental group consisted of students who received modified multimedia instruction (treatment), including the text-to-speech synthesis. The control group consisted of students who received standard multimedia instruction; a series of texts and graphics without text-to-speech synthesis. Both lessons were identical in content and appearance, with the exception of the text-to-speech synthesis modification.

At the end of the first unit, the multimedia instruction treatment for each group was reversed. The control group from the first treatment became the experimental group of the second treatment (receiving the text-to-speech synthesized lesson) and vice versa. Each unit of instruction differed in content, so the treatments were relatively independent of each other. A t test served as the primary means of analyzing the data relative to the research hypothesis.

The findings of the study were summarized as follows:

1. The treatment group students' science achievement scores were not significantly higher than the control group students' science achievement scores when students' post-test scores were used for comparison.

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