Television literacy: Comprehension of program content using closed captions for the deaf

Recent legislation has made captioned television programs common technology; consequently, televised programs have become more accessible to a broader public. In the United States, television captions are generally in written English, yet the English-literacy rates among people who are deaf are low compared to hearing peers. This research tests the accessibility of television by assessing deaf and hearing students' comprehension of captions with and without visuals/video based on their ability to respond correctly to questions about the script and central details. Results indicate that reading grade level is highly correlated with caption comprehension test scores. Across caption conditions, comprehension test scores of students who are deaf were consistently below the scores of hearing students. The captioned video provided significantly better comprehension of the script for students who are deaf, suggesting that visual stimuli provide essential information for viewers who are deaf, which improves comprehension of televised script.

Lewis, M. S. J., & Jackson, D. W.
Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 6(1), 43-53.
Related Research
Content Area: 
Grade Level: 
birth to preschool
early elementary
intermediate elementary
middle school
IDEA Disability Category: 
hearing impairment
Instructional Support: 
multimedia products and projects
multiple formats of text and notation