The thesis is focused on STEM education and education policy for students who are deaf/hard of hearing. The research broadly examines the impacts of legislation such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on science education for deaf/hard of hearing students. Additionally, the thesis argues that the benefits of greater accessibility in STEM for deaf/hard of hearing students would be beneficial.

The findings considered STEM education in the deaf/hard of hearing community and how their perspectives and practices may improve science education. Deaf students’ personal experiences and available services in schools may spark their interest in science, technology, engineering, and math. Education policies such as IDEA were established to improve support for students with disabilities and broadly in their everyday lives while No Child Left Behind policies held schools nationwide accountable for the quality of services they provide.

The three questions asked were: What were the impacts of IDEA and NCLB on science education for D/HH students? How do policy mandates impact academic support for deaf students in schools? Does better academic support make a difference in student performance for STEM education?

The impacts of IDEA and NCLB on science education were explored through a combination of historical and contemporary literature on deaf education, science education, education policy, interviews, and categories found within the policies were analyzed: Accountability and Proficiency, Principles (which includes Qualified Teachers, Educational Methods, Individualized Education Program and Mainstreaming).

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Deaf--Education--Science--Government policy--United States; Deaf--Education--Mathematics--Government policy--United States

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Science, Technology and Public Policy (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Public Policy (CLA)


Kristoffer Whitney

Advisor/Committee Member

Josephine Wolff

Advisor/Committee Member

Christopher Kurz


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes