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Comparison of the divergent production abilities of deaf and hearing children in western Canada Williamson, Kenneth John

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to ascertain the similarities and differences on measures for divergent production between groups representing hearing and deaf children in Western Canada. Divergent production was defined as the generation of ideas from given information. There are four measurable factors within divergent production: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration; i.e. the number of ideas, their classes, statistical unusualness, and embellishments. The Torrance Test of Creative Thinking, Figural Form B, was chosen as the instrument because it measures the four divergent production factors, and requires non-verbal responses. The regular test instructions were modified by the researcher to a non-verbal form in order to facilitate administration of the instrument to both deaf and hearing subjects. The study was in two phases. Phase 1, the Pilot Study, was designed to trial test the modified protocols, and Phase 2, the Main Study, to compare the deaf and hearing subjects. The Pilot Study data was analyzed by univariate and multivariate F-tests and by discriminant analysis (Tatsuoka 1970) for protocol and sex effects, and the Main Study data by univariate and multivariate F-tests for hearing status and sex effects, discriminant analysis for the statistically significant F-tests, and Hotelling’s T² routine for the within grade effects. For both phases an α level of .05 was chosen. The Pilot Study, employing a randomly split class of 66 pupils, revealed a high possible educative effect by the modified protocols. However, the modified protocols were used in the Main Study since both groups of 114 hearing and 114 deaf subjects observed the same instructions and used the same test instrument. The results of the Main Study showed the hearing subjects to be statistically different from the deaf subjects on a composite factor of the four divergent production factors with a multivariate F-value of 4.555 and an associated probability of .001 on a two-tailed test. Hearing boys were also statistically different from hearing girls with an F-value of 2.764 and an associated probability of .029. The univariate F-tests reached statistical significance for only figural flexibility and originality on the comparison of the hearing and deaf subjects. Discriminant analysis revealed that the underlying differences amongst the dependent figural factors was at the flexibility end on a figural fluency/flexibility discriminant dimension. None of the other comparisons by hearing status, sex, and within grade effects reached statistical significance. However, grade by grade developmental patterns and boy or girl dominance on individual figural factors compared favourably with other studies. Boys tended to score higher than girls on figural originality, and girls higher on figural elaboration. By grade, the hearing subjects exhibited the characteristic "Grade Four Slump" but the deaf subjects did not. The only major difference between these results and those of Kaltsounis (19 70) was on the comparison of hearing and deaf subjects. Kaltsounis found his deaf subjects to be significantly superior at the .01 level on a two-tailed test whereas in this study the hearing subjects were superior at the .05 level (computed p < .001) also on a two-tailed test. The researcher noted several possible causes of the above major difference suggesting that in this study biases in the modified protocols may have favoured the hearing subjects, and in Kaltsounis' study biases in the ordinary protocols may have favoured the deaf subjects. Finally, questions were posed enquiring into the importance of divergent production in the education of the deaf.

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