Differentiation when used in a classroom uses varied instructional techniques and materials to enhance learning for students. Students can be grouped together based on their abilities and interest in order for students to learn. This paper will look at research studies to find out if differentiation truly works for the majority of students.
The Effectiveness of Differentiated Instruction on Student Engagement and Achievement was a study conducted in 2009 by Lepine, Gauthier, McGregor, Merry, Seaman, Walton, and Westcott.
The study was conducted to assess the impact on using differentiated instruction would have on the success of a student. The students who were the subjects in the study were experiencing low achievement and credit attainment. The school only had thirty-eight percent of students receiving all credits (Lepine, Gauthier, McGregor, Merry, Seaman, Walton, & Westcott, 2009). The method was action research for half a semester teachers used traditional lessons. For the next half of the semester the teachers used differentiated lessons. The effectiveness of both lessons was evaluated using quantitative and qualitative assessments. The authors used student surveys, report cards, questionnaires, and anecdotal reflections from the teachers and observers. Classroom climate, resources, students learning styles, and teaching styles were also used. The student produced positive findings. Assessments given after traditional lessons and differentiated lessons produced results that the differentiated lesson produced significant improvement versus the results from traditional lessons (Lepine, et.al. 2009). The study also found that students who were low achieving and facing failure in a class were able to achieve success after differentiated instruction strategies were implemented (Lepine, et.al. 2009). The study also produced results that student?s grades improved. With traditional lessons, thirty-six percent of students received a grade of B or higher, with differentiated lesson seventy six percent of students received a grade of B or higher (Lepine, et.al. 2009). This author believes that this study shows differentiation creates classrooms that are appealing to students and student achievement improves. The implementation of differentiated instruction in the school provided students with different needs challenges, and interest?s ways to learn that fit their learning styles, which gave each student a chance to succeed.
Investigating the Impact of Differentiated Instruction in Mixed Ability Classroom: It?s impact on the Quality and Equity Dimensions of Education Effectiveness was study conducted in 2011 by Stravroula, Leonidas, and Mary.
The purpose of the study was to see how differentiated instruction narrowed the achievement gaps to achieve equality within the classroom. The study involved 479 students in 24 different classrooms. One group of students received traditional instruction while the other received differentiated instruction. Comparisons were done between the two groups to examine the difference of achievement. Equation models were used to show the relation and impact of differentiated teaching styles. The study found that no matter what ability, social background, or family dynamics a student came from the group of students receiving differentiated instruction had higher achievement in both comprehensive and literacy tests over those in the traditional group (Stravroula, Leonidas, & Mary, 2011). The study also showed that students from all socioeconomic groups had reduced negative effects when differentiation was used (Stravroula, Leonidas, & Mary, 2011). In this authors opinion this study shows that differentiation is effective in bridging the gaps that occur in mix ability classrooms. The study shows that student achievement improved across the board with differentiated instruction. This author levies that this result shows that differentiation instruction has a positive effect on achievement in a classroom with students with all different abilities and backgrounds. This author believes that differentiation does promote equality in the classroom.
Application and Evaluation of Differentiation Instruction in Mixed Ability Classroom is a study conducted in 2009 by Valiande and Koutselini.
The focus of this study was to evaluate differentiation instruction in mixed ability classrooms on student competences, achievement, and self-image. The study was conducted using two groups of students dividing them into traditional instruction and differentiated instruction. Students? academic achievement was tested using two tests prior to the study and then two tests taken at the end. Student?s self-image data was collected using Harters Self-Perception Profile for Children. Interviews were also conducted on the teachers and students. The results were that student achievement and self-image improved. Teachers were found to believe that differentiation is a viable teaching proposition and not just an education trend (Valiande & Koutselini, 2009). This author believes that his study correlated its results with the previous study discussed. The study