Teacher accountability and test scores currently drive many practices within the field of education. Concurrently, student populations have become increasingly diverse, causing classroom teachers to feel pressured to teach to the test. Differentiated instruction has emerged as a best practice to help maximize learning for all students. However, implementation of the instructional approach remains inconsistent. In addition, the specific connection between differentiated instruction and reading achievement is unclear. This research study was conducted with fourth grade general education teachers in an urban, upstate New York school district, where student needs are highly diverse, to ascertain teacher perceptions of differentiated instruction. In addition, this study was conducted to collect examples of practical application of the strategy. Interviews were conducted with participants; narrative data collected show a common understanding of what differentiated instruction entails. The major theme found within the data indicates that teachers perceive differentiated instruction to involve tailoring instruction to the individual needs of students. The data also show a wide range of use of the instructional approach in regard to reading instruction. Major themes found within the data address scaffolding tasks and products, and the use of flexible groupings in order to reach the diverse needs of all learners.
|Advisor:||Rucker, Ruth R.|
|School:||University of Phoenix|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/02, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Instructional Design, Elementary education, Literacy, Reading instruction|
|Keywords:||Achievement gap, Differentiated instruction, Effective practices, Learning styles, Reading achievement, Student needs|
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