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ERIC Number: ED500838
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 81
Abstractor: Author
Improving Student Motivation in Mixed Ability Classrooms Using Differentiated Instruction
Danzi, Jamie; Reul, Kelly; Smith, Rana
Online Submission
This action research project report summarizes the methods used to reduce boredom and frustration and increase students' academic motivation in three mixed-ability classrooms. This action research project included 21 third grade students, 23 fifth grade students, and 28 eighth grade students (n=72) during the dates of September 10, 2007, through December 14th, 2007. The teacher researchers observed students talking during instructional and work time, rushing through assigned tasks, inability to self-select free-time activities, working slowly, and lacking enthusiasm toward tasks. To gather data regarding these problems, three documentation tools, including a parent survey, student survey and an observation checklist, were used. The results of the parent survey allowed the teacher researchers to conclude that the majority of their students spoke positively about school. The outcome of the student surveys provided the teacher researchers with information about their students' attitudes toward school. Over half of their students conveyed feelings of boredom while in the classroom (n=44). The majority of their students also stated that they were always or sometimes distracted during work time (n=66). The observation checklist helped to reinforce the teacher researchers' original beliefs about the problem. Through tally marks, they were able to track 14 targeted behaviors. After calculating the data, they noted that the majority of incidences were those of talking during instructional and work time, and students' inability to self-select free-time activities. The teacher researchers chose Differentiated Instruction as the intervention to be implemented. Three specific Differentiated Instruction strategies, free-time activities, tiered assignments, and authentic assessments, were selected. Free-time activities encompassed different content areas, appealed to the students' multiple intelligences. Tiered assignments allowed the same objective to be obtained at various levels and modalities. The teacher researchers created assignments that appealed to the multiple intelligences ranging from simple to complex. Authentic assessments were culminating activities and tests that targeted learning styles, multiple intelligences, and ability levels. At the conclusion of the project, the teacher researchers compared and analyzed their pre- and post- data to identify several changes that occurred in their classrooms. These included fewer students distracted during work-time and a decreased number of off-task behaviors, however, more students appeared bored, and fewer students were excited about school. After reviewing their results, the teacher researchers recommended the continuance of Differentiated Instruction. They would only introduce one strategy, which would allow the teacher researchers better management. Eight appendixes are included: (1) Parent Survey; (2) Student Survey; (3) Observation Checklist; (4) Choice Board; (5) Graphic Organizer; (6) Book Talk; (7) Book Report; and (8) Science Test. (Contains 17 figures and 12 tables.) [Master's of Arts Action Research Project, Field-Based Master's Program, Saint Xavier University & Pearson Achievement Solutions, Inc.]
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Grade 3; Grade 5; Grade 8
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A