Research indicates that teachers should implement strategies that target individual student’s needs, while also instructing in a heterogeneous classroom. In the present study, I designed a sequence of activities to observe the effects of differentiation on a cohort of students in their eighth-grade mathematics class. Students were given a pretest to examine their knowledge before any differentiation was implemented. Throughout the next unit, I collected data about my students’ responses to the activities, designed new differentiation activities, and quantitatively analyzed their responses. To conclude the study, the students took a post-test. As the literature suggests, all three activities focused on student choice, productive struggle, and open-questioning. Students were given options and the freedom to write their own problems or choose their own way to approach a problem. The students were surprised by the appearance of choice in these activities and struggled to confront the more challenging problems that they were given. The conclusions of this study suggest that in order for differentiation to be significantly productive, it is necessary to adopt a culture of differentiation early-on in the classroom and continue to support this culture throughout the school year.
Sponsored by George Reuter
"The Effects of Process Differentiation in an Eighth-Grade Mathematics Classroom,"
Proceedings of GREAT Day: Vol. 2020, Article 11.
Available at: https://knightscholar.geneseo.edu/proceedings-of-great-day/vol2020/iss1/11