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Assessing the Effectiveness of Text-to-Speech Software in Incarcerated Adult Literacy Education

NCJ Number
Journal of Correctional Education Volume: 65 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2014 Pages: 2-19
Yvette McCulley; Catherine Gillespie; Anne H. Murr
Date Published
May 2014
18 pages
This study assessed the effect of adaptive technology (text-to-speech) computer software on incarcerated, low-literacy adult inmates.
After 5 months of use with low-literacy inmates in two midwestern correctional facilities, a statistically significant difference was found between pretest and posttest literacy scores when text-to-speech software was used in instruction. Text-to-speech software supports learners who do not decode or comprehend well enough to read text independently. Computer-assisted reading has been effective in improving fluency as well as word recognition and comprehension. In the women's correctional facility, 14 of 28 inmates completed the study by working at least part of the time with the treatment and completing a CASAS pretest and posttest. The other 14 women dropped out of the study for various reasons. In the men's correctional facility, of the 16 men who agreed to participate in the program, 10 completed the study by working at least part-time with the treatment and completing the pretest and posttest. There was insufficient support to suggest a significant impact on selected observable variables (age, gender, minority status, status in learning the English language, or level of competence on the CASAS literacy pretest. There was no control group; because the treatment was not withheld from any student who wanted to use the text-to-speech software. 3 tables and 35 references


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