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ERIC Number: ED499581
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jun
Pages: 118
Abstractor: Author
Improving Mathematics Skills Using Differentiated Instruction with Primary and High School Students
Ellis, Daniel K.; Ellis, Kerry A.; Huemann, Linda J.; Stolarik, Elizabeth A.
Online Submission
Varied academic ability is a problem across the country and is the focus of this action research project report. The four teacher researchers were searching for way to reach all learners with their mathematics instruction. The purpose of the research was to increase mathematical performance in a varied ability math classroom. To address varied ability levels in the classroom, the teacher researchers implemented differentiation instruction and modified three areas of instruction: curriculum, strategies, and student work. The research project was implemented on January 29, 2007 and concluded on May 11, 2007. The participants consisted of 79 math students: 26 grade 10-12 high school students, 53 kindergarten through second grade students, and 25 teachers, for a total of 104 participants. Today's students enter the classroom with different learning experiences and prior knowledge. The teacher researchers encountered academic achievement that ranged from high, medium, and low. The students that performed at a high academic level were often finished with their work early and often left unchallenged. The students that performed below average academically needed constant support and redirection which took away from the teacher's instruction time. The only students that were benefiting were the average students. This research project used a student survey, teacher survey, observation checklist, and pre-test and post-tests to document the problem and found the above to be true. The interventions consisted of cooperative learning lessons, multiple intelligence based lessons, student choice of assignments, and differentiated assignments. Cooperative learning is one way in which teachers can help students learn to work with one another. It allows students to work in groups to achieve a goal. Implementing lessons using Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences was another intervention used. Gardner suggests that each individual has the ability to learn in many different ways, yet we all have one preferred learning style. Student choice encourages students to be in charge of their own learning and help them to gain a better sense of personal and social responsibility (Betts, 2004; George, 2005). One way to accommodate for the many levels in today's classrooms is to differentiate assignments to suit individual needs. After reviewing the results of the pre- and post-test data the four teacher researchers noticed a marked change in student performance. However, it was not possible to determine if student success was based on interventions or the fact that the teachers had covered the concepts with the class between testing. Since the pre-tests focused on concepts that had not been covered it is believed that presenting the material would inevitably lead to student progress. The positive change in student performance led us to believe that our interventions were effective in some way. It is believed cooperative learning positively impacted student progress and the teacher researchers plan to continue implementing this strategy. In conclusion, each teacher researcher would like to continue to implement differentiation. With the varied abilities in today's classroom it is necessary to adapt teaching methods to meet different needs. Differentiation is something that cannot be implemented immediately and needs to be well thought out, planned, and gradually implemented. Each teacher researcher felt the frustrations of planning time, time allotted for activities in the classroom, and changing teaching styles in the middle of the year. It is believed these frustrations can be alleviated through proper training and resources. (Contains 6 tables, 27 graphs, and 12 appendices.) [Master of Arts Action Research Project, Saint Xavier University.]
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: High Schools; Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A