Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 10-11-2017

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

College

College of Education

Department

Education

Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Julie McCann, Ph.D.

Content Specialist

Diane Heacox, Ph.D

Content Reader

Anne Grey, Ed.D.

Keywords

differentiation, middle grade Math differentiation, middle grade English differentiation, student readiness, student interest, cognitive preference, learning preferences, pre-assessment, formative assessment, statewide achievement testing, flexible grouping, assessing differentiation

Abstract

The research questions investigated in this study were designed to explore (a) what strategies of differentiation teachers used in their practice of teaching and learning, and (b) what challenges teachers faced in implementing differentiated strategies. Efforts to answer these questions were supported by existing related research and theories in the field of education and were examined using an explanatory case study methodology. The intent of this study was to add to the body of literature regarding the ways in which middle grade teachers used differentiated strategies and the challenges teachers faced in implementing differentiated strategies. The findings of this study indicated teachers had an awareness of the terms associated with using multiple methods to address the unique learning needs of students, but in practice, they actually implemented differentiated strategies on a limited basis. Participants indicated inconsistent use of differentiated strategies to reach student learning objectives and extend student learning. Multiple stakeholders, including specialists who work in the field of academically and intellectually gifted and who work in the field of special education students, should be viewed as valuable in the process of planning instruction. To improve student learning using differentiate strategies, teachers must embrace a common understanding regarding differentiated strategies. Interactions between multiple educational organization stakeholders have value when investigating the experiences of teachers regarding their use of differentiated strategies and the barriers they faced in implementing of those strategies.

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