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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Rural Teachers' Perceptions and Practices of Differentiation for Rural Gifted Learners
by Weinlein, Vanessa L., Ed.D., Widener University, 2019, 176; 13857577
Abstract (Summary)

Challenges such as limited financial and human resources and a declining tax base affect the type of education rural schools can provide to gifted learners (Stambaugh & Wood, 2015). However, differentiation is an educational approach well-suited to meeting the needs of gifted learners, particularly in rural schools (Brimijoin, 2005; Gear, 1984; Park & Oliver, 2009; VanTassel-Baska, 2003; VanTassel-Baska & Stambaugh, 2005; VanTassel-Baska & Hubbard, 2016).

This case study explored teacher perceptions and practices related to the application of differentiation with rural gifted students. The study participants included English, history, and science teachers who had gifted students enrolled in their classes in a rural high school in Pennsylvania. Carol Tomlinson’s approach to differentiation through adjustments to content (curricula), process (instruction), product (assessment), and affect/environment was used to measure teachers’ perceptions and practices of differentiation (Tomlinson, 1995). In addition, participants’ lesson plans and unit plans were reviewed for evidence of differentiated practice according to each area of Tomlinson’s framework. Finally, classroom observations were conducted to locate additional evidence of differentiated content, process, product, and environment. Teacher perceptions of differentiation were explored using open-ended interview questions.

A key finding of this research is that differentiation for rural gifted learners was applied differently across the four elements of Tomlinson’s framework in each of the classes included in this study.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wolfe, Zora M.
Commitee: Petrosino, Joseph, Wiedman-Rouse, Teri
School: Widener University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 80/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Gifted Education, Secondary education
Keywords: Differentiation, Gifted, Rural
Publication Number: 13857577
ISBN: 978-1-392-13617-1
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