Sample Action Research courtesy of Sir Kenneth D. Hernandez,CAR-PhD. (Admin TeacherPH Facebook Group)
This is my promised Action Research by one of the teachers at Victoria Reyes Elementary School. Notice that it was conducted only for a week and the Statistics used are very simple yet the interpretation is meaty.
Victoria Reyes Elementary School
An Action Research on the Effectiveness of Differentiated Instruction In Teaching English for Grade Four Classes
Mary Joy V. Olicia
Like Science and Math, English is a difficult but an important subject because the curriculum considers it as a tool subject needed to understand the different content subjects. Basically, it is concerned with developing competencies in listening, speaking, reading, writing, and viewing. Speaking includes skills in using the language expressions and grammatical structures correctly in oral communication while writing skill includes readiness skills, mechanics in guided writing, functional and creative writing (K to 12 Curriculum Guide for Grade 4).
The K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum aims to help learners understand that English language is involved in the dynamic social process which responds to and reflects changing social conditions. It is also inextricably involved with values, beliefs and ways of thinking about the person and the world people dwell. The curriculum aims that pupils are given an opportunity to build upon their prior knowledge while utilizing their own skills, interests, styles, and talents.
However, teachers find difficulties in teaching different kinds of pupils with different intellectual capacities, talent or skills, interest, and learning styles especially in heterogeneous groupings of pupils. This situation calls for teachers to create lessons for all pupils based upon their readiness, interests, and background knowledge. Anderson (2007) noted that it is imperative not to exclude any child in a classroom, so a differentiated learning environment must be provided by a teacher.
Differentiated instruction is based on the concept that the teacher is a facilitator of information, while students take the primary role of expanding their knowledge by making sense of their ability to learn differently (Robinson, Maldonado, & Whaley, 2014).
Wilson (2009) argued that differentiated instruction is the development of the simple to the complex tasks, and a difference between individuals that are otherwise similar in certain respects such as age or grade are given consideration. Additionally, Butt and Kusar (2010) stated that it is an approach to planning, so that one lesson may be taught to the entire class while meeting the individual needs of each child.
According to Tomlinson (2009), DI as a philosophy of teaching is based on the premise that students learn best when their teachers accommodate the differences in their readiness levels, interests, and learning profiles. It sees the learning experience as social and collaborative. The responsibility of what happens in the classroom is first to teacher, but also to the learner (Subban, 2006). Additionally, DI presents an effective means to address learner’s variance which avoids the pitfalls of the one-size-fits-all curriculum. Stronge (2004) and Tomlinson (2004b) claimed that addressing student differences and interest enhance their motivation to learn and make them to remain committed and to stay positive as well.
Stravroula (2011) conducted a study in investigating the impact of DI in mixed ability classrooms and found out that the implementation of differentiation had made a big step in facing the negative effects of socio-economic factors on students’ achievement by managing diversity effectively, providing learning opportunities for all students. The positive change in students’ achievement had shown that differentiation can be considered as an effective teaching approach in mixed ability classrooms.
Furthermore, Servilio (cited by Robinson, 2014) studied the effectiveness of using DI to motivate students to read and found out that an average of 83.4% of the students’ grades improved in reading, 12.5% remained the same, and 41% of the grades decreased.
As educator, the teacher-researcher was motivated to conduct this action research on the effectiveness of DI in teaching English on Grade Four pupils for a week-long lesson. She also she wanted to know the effect of this method on the academic performance of the pupils from results of the diagnostic and achievement test.
II. Statement of the Problem
This study determined the effectiveness of conducting DI to Grade Four English class. Specifically, it answered the following.
1. What is the performance of the two groups of respondents in the pretest?
1.1. Control group
1.2. Experimental group
2. What is the performance of the two groups of respondents in the posttest?
1.1. Control group
1.2. Experimental group
3. Is there a significant difference between the pretest scores of the control and experimental group?
4. Is there a significant difference between the posttest scores of the control and experimental group?
5. Is there a significant difference between the pretest and posttest scores of the control and experimental group?
The following null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance.
- There is no significant difference between the pretest result of the experimental and control group.
- There is no significant difference between the posttest result of the experimental and control group.
- There is no significant difference between the pretest and posttest result of the experimental and control group.
This action research utilized the experimental design since its main purpose was to determine the effectiveness of DI and its possible effect to the mean gain scores on achievement of pupils on a one-week lesson in Grade 4 English.
Two groups were taught the same lessons for one week. The control group was taught using the single teaching with similar activities approach while the experimental group was taught using DI with three sets of activities and three sets of evaluation and facilitation for the three groupings of pupils for the one-week duration. Two regular sections were included in the study out of the five Grade 4 sections that the school have.
Both groups were given the diagnostic test on Friday, September 25, 2015 to identify the classification of pupils whether they belong to the above average group, average group, and below average group. The achievement test was administered on Monday, October 5, 2015 the following week using parallel teacher-made tests. The number of pupils was again identified to know whether there was change in their classification. The results of the pretest and the posttest were compared to determine whether using DI is effective or not.
After seeking the approval from the principal, the teacher-researcher started the experiment for a week.
The scores of both the pretest and the posttest were taken and these data were coded, tallied, and were statistically treated using the mean, standard deviation, and t-test of significant difference.
The mean and the standard deviation were used to determine the level of performance of control and experimental groups and the classification of pupils, while the t-test was employed to determine the significant difference of the mean scores on pretest and posttest of both groups.
V. Results and Discussions
The following are the results and the analysis done from the data.
A. Performance of the Two Groups of Respondents in the Diagnostic Test (Pretest)
The result of the pretest of the two class groups is presented in Table 1.
Diagnostic scores reveal that the control group has a mean of 11.76 (Sd=4.06) while the experimental group reported a mean score of 12.07 (sd=3.56) which is a little higher.
Pretest Results of the Control and the Experimental
Groups Prior to the Experiment
The variance results of 4.06 and 3.56 are not that big which signify that both classes are heterogeneous; meaning the pupils were of differing level of intelligence. This is indeed a good baseline since the results suggest that the two sections included in the study are almost the same in the manner that the scores are scattered. This means that the pupil’s grouping are mixed as to their abilities.
Tomlinson (2009) claimed that pupil’s differences should be addressed and the two groups became an ideal grouping for which the experiment was conducted concerning DI.
B. Performance of the Two Groups of Respondents in the Achievement Test (Posttest)
Pretest Results of the Control and the Experimental
Groups Prior to the Experiment
The level of performance of the two groups in the posttest is presented in Table 2.
The experimental group of pupils who were exposed to DI obtains a mean score of 16.45 (Sd=2.34) while the control group who were taught using the traditional method obtain a mean score of 13.82 (Sd=3.53).
The result showed that the posttest scores of the experimental groups taught with DI is remarkably better as compared to those which were taught the traditional approach. Looking at the standard deviation scores, it signifies that the variance of the experimental group was smaller than that of the control group which suggest that the pupils’ intellectual ability were not scattered unlike in the pretest result.
The finding is supported by Stravroula’s (2011) study on DI where was able to prove that DI is effective as it positively effects the diverse pupils characteristics. Stronge’s (2004) contention that DI can enhance motivation and performance also supports the result.
C. Classification of Pupils in the Control and Experimental Group Based on the Pretest and Posttest Scores Results
Classification of Pupils Before and After the Differentiated Instruction
Table 3 presents the grouping of the pupils both in the control and in the experimental group As per classification of students based on the mean and standard deviation results, a majority of the pupils were on the average group for the control and experimental group prior to the treatment. However, after the experiment, there was a big increase in number of pupils for the average group for the control group and a larger number now belongs to the above average group. There were no pupils reported to be in the below average group for both the control and the experimental group.
Data suggest that both approach in teaching increased the achievement but remarkable increase was noted in the group taught with DI.
D. Classification of Pupils in the Control and Experimental Group Based on the Pretest and Posttest Scores Results
Classification of Pupils Before and After the Differentiated Instruction
Table 3.1 shows that as per classification of students based on the mean and standard deviation results, a majority of the pupils were on the average group for the control and experimental group prior to the treatment of using DI to the experimental group.
It could be noticed that the percentages of classification are not far from each other. The idea presented by Tomlinson (2009) that differences of pupils should be addressed by the teacher in the classroom is good and according to Robinson, et.al, the teachers are the best facilitators of learning for pupils of diverse background and abilities.
Classification of Pupils After the Differentiated Instruction
Table 3.2 presents that after the experiment, there was a big increase in number of pupils for the average group for the control group and a larger number now belongs to the above average group. There were no pupils reported to be in the below average group for both the control and the experimental group.
Data suggest that both approach in teaching increased the achievement but remarkable increase was noted in the group taught with DI. This improvement in the classification or grouping of pupils in both groups assumes the principle that both groups who are taught by the same teacher with the same lesson could normally have a change in aptitude especially if the teacher has addressed the differences as averred by Anderson (2007). However, the notable changes in the experimental group is surely brought about by the DI exposed to them as supported by Stravroula (2011), Subban (2006), and Stronge (2004). With the DI, the teacher’s approach to the teaching and the activities may have affected very well the acquisition of the learning competencies as was mentioned by Wilson (2009). Specifically however, in English, the contentions of Sevillano (cited by Robinson et al, 2014) directly supports the result.
E. Results of Significant Difference Between the Pretest Scores of the Control and Experimental Group
Significant Difference Between the Pretest Scores of the Control Group and Experimental Group
Table 4 presents the significant difference in the pretest scores of the two groups.
The computed t-ratio of 0.8109 is lesser than the tabular of 1.9845 at 98 degrees of freedom. Hence the hypothesis of no significant difference is accepted. There is no significant difference in the pretest scores of the class groups.
This result is good since the baseline data prior to the use of DI suggest that the pupils have similar intellectual abilities which will be very crucial for trying out the experiment in the teaching approach. The data suggest that the groups are very ideal for the experiment since they possess similarities prior to the experiment.
F. Significant Difference Between the Posttest Scores of the Control and Experimental Group
Table 5 presents the significant difference of the posttest scores between the control and the experimental group.
Results of Post-test the Control and Experimental Group
From the data, it is very clear that the difference in scores in the achievement favor the experimental group which was taught using DI. Hence, it is safe to say that DI is effective based on the data generated.
G. Significant Difference Between the Pre-test and Post-test Scores of the Control and Experimental Group
Significant Difference Between the Pretest and Posttest Scores of the Control and Experimental Group
Table 6 presents the comparison of the pretest and post test scores of the control and the control groups.
Clearly, for the control, there is no significant difference as signified by the computed t coefficient of 0.09 which is lesser than the tabular value of 1.9850 using 96 degrees of freedom. However, for the control group, it is very obvious that the calculated t-ratio of 1.02 is greater than the tabular value of 1.9840. Hence, the hypothesis of no significant difference between the pretest and posttest scores for the control group is accepted but is rejected for the experimental group.
The results are very significant since the group exposed without DI did not report difference in score unlike in the group taught using DI which showed significant difference. This then makes it safe to conclude that DI is effective in teaching English.
The following are the findings of this action research.
- The mean scores of both control (11.76, Sd=4.06) and the experimental (12.07, Sd=3.56) groups do not significantly differ based on the t-coefficient result of 0.8109 which is lesser than the tabular of 1.9845 at 98 degrees of freedom.
- The mean scores of the control (16.45, Sd=2.34) and the experimental (13.82, Sd=3.53) significantly differ which favor the use of DI from the t-ratio of 3.423 is greater than the tabular value of 1.9845 at 0.05 level of significance using 98 degrees of freedom.
- During the pretest, majority of the pupils are average (control group, 35 or 71.43% and 37 or 72.55%). After the treatment, however, majority of the pupils in the control group became average (34 or 69.39%) and above average (35 or 68.63%).
- There is no significant difference between the control group’s pretest and posttest scores based on the computed t coefficient of 0.09 which is lesser than the tabular value of 1.9850 using 96 degrees of freedom but significant difference exists for the experimental group as signified by the calculated t-ratio of 1.02 is greater than the tabular value of 1.9840 using 98 degrees of freedom.
Based on the findings, the following are the conclusions.
- The pretest scores of the control and the experimental group do not differ significantly.
- The posttest scores of the groups significantly differ resulting to higher scores for the experimental group.
- No significant difference exists in the pretest and posttest scores of the control group, but significant difference is noted for the experimental group.
- There is an improvement in the groupings of pupils both in the control and experimental group but significant improvement was shown for the pupils taught using DI.
- Use of DI is effective considering the higher scores of the experimental group compared to the control group.
Based on the above findings and conclusions, the following recommendations are suggested.
- DI should be used in teaching pupils in English especially in heterogeneous classes because it improved their classroom performance.
- Teachers should be given in-service trainings on DI for them to gain more knowledge and clear understanding of the approach.
- Although tedious on the part of the teachers, they should be encouraged to prepare and use DI to motivate pupils to participate in class discussions.
- This action research should be continued.
Anderson, K. M. (2007). Tips for teaching: Differentiating instruction to include all students. Preventing School Failure, 51(3), pp. 49-54. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database. (Accession No. 24944365)
Butt, M. & Kausar, S. (2010). A comparative study using differentiated instructions of public and private school teachers. Malaysian Journal of Distance Education, 12(1), pp. 105-124. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database. (Accession No. 78221508)
K to 12 Curriculum Guide, www.deped.gov.ph
Robinson, L., Maldonado, N., & Whaley, J. (2014). Perceptions about implementation of differentiated instruction: Retrieved October 2015 http://mrseberhartsepicclass.weebly.com/
Stravroula, V. A, Leonidas., & Mary, K. (2011). investigating the impact of differentiated instruction in mixed ability classrooms: It’s impact on the quality and equity dimensions of education effectiveness. Retrieved October 2015 http://www.icsei.net/icsei2011/Full%20Papers/0155.pdf
Stronge, J. (2004). Teacher effectiveness and student achievement : What do good teachers do? Paper presented at the American Association of School Administrators Annual Conference and Exposition, San Francisco, California.
Subban, P.(2006). Differentiated Instruction: A research basis. International Education Journal, 7(7), pp. 935-947.
Tomlinson, C. A., (2009) Intersections between differentiation and literacy instruction: Shared principles worth sharing. The NERA Journal, 45(1), 28-33.Retrieved from Education Research Complete database. (Accession No. 44765141)
Tomlinson, C. A. (2004a). Differentiation in diverse settings. School Administrator, 61(7), 28-33
Wilson, S. (2009). Differentiated instruction: How are design, essential questions in learning, assessment, and instruction part of it? New England Reading Association Journal, 44(2), pp. 68-75. Retrieved from Education Source database. (Accession No. 508028374)
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Action Research Abstracts
A Message From the Director
At this time, I am pleased to present the collected abstracts of the action research projects conducted by the Masters of Education students spanning the years 2000-2004. Day in and day out, the dedication and enthusiasm of our graduate student researchers excites and challenges me in my role as Director of Graduate Programs, and I am continually impressed with the depth and variety of our students’ research endeavors. Studies conducted in both public and private schools as well with home schooling and alternative schools are represented here. Studies of gifted and talented education, inclusion, reading readiness, and writing fluency are all included. From athletic motivation to academic achievement, from preschool to college, from math to French, and from vocabulary to music, our students consider the many faces of education. As our Graduate Programs in Education continue to grow and flourish, we will strive to have our students broaden their scope of study even further so as to deepen our collective impact on Maryland’s learners.
With gratitude for the hard work involved and pride in the body of knowledge the synopses represent, I present to you these abstracts.
Phyllis M. Sunshine, PhD.
Action Research Prize Winners
Megan Varga found that improved relationships between teachers and students significantly reduced student off-task classroom behavior. Read Megan's work: https://mdsoar.org/handle/11603/3893.
Jane Dulin found that 11th grade students who received direct instruction in SAT preparation significantly increased their SAT test scores. Read Jane's work: https://mdsoar.org/handle/11603/4349.
Al-Amin Johnson found a significant improvement in the academic achievement of at-risk high school students in an advanced placement psychology course through the use of project-based learning. Read Al-Amin's work: https://mdsoar.org/handle/11603/2805.
Stacy S. Doucette found that a mentoring adult had a significant impact on at-risk ninth graders who earned more credits, and increased both cumulative grade point averages and motivation. Read Stacy's work: https://mdsoar.org/handle/11603/3075.