Low mathematics achievement is a concern of educators and the general public because many Americans are emerging from school without the requisite mathematics skills to function well in our complex, quickly changing society. Individuals with low math abilities are more likely to be unemployed and be a burden to fellow taxpayers. Educators and public policymakers are looking for ways to improve math instruction, in an effort to improve math achievement. Differentiated instruction is a method that many educators believe addresses the mathematical needs of students of all abilities and allows all students to achieve satisfactory math progress, although this has not been born out with adequate research. Using a causal-comparative design, the purpose of this study was to examine the extent (if any) that differentiated instruction in mathematics affected primary students' math achievement. The study was conducted with second grade students at a primary school on a U. S. military base overseas. Two groups of students were compared, a differentiated instruction group and a whole group instruction group. There was no statistically significant difference in the scaled scores of the two groups as determined by one-way ANCOVA, controlling for pre-test score F(1, 145) =.801, p=0.37. This result indicates that differentiated instruction did not make a difference in end of the year achievement for these students. Within the differentiated instruction group, ability groups (high, average, and low) were compared to see which group, if any, benefitted the most from differentiated instruction. There was a statistically significant difference in the gain scores of the three groups as determined by one-way ANOVA F(2, 67)=5.519, p=0.006. The high group had significantly more growth than the low (101.77, p=.009) or average group (74.73, p=0.021). The study adds to the sparse research on differentiated instruction in mathematics and help educators make decisions about what methods are most effective in improving the math achievement of primary school students. Two suggestions for further research are using an experimental design with random assignment and comparing the growth of high, average, and low students in both groups.
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Mathematics education, Gifted Education, Elementary education|
|Keywords:||Ability grouping, Differentiated instruction, Mathematics achievement, Targeted instruction|
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