Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

College

College of Education and International Services

Program

Educational Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Janet Ledesma

Second Advisor

Shirley Freed

Third Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Abstract

The Problem

Teachers in the Columbia Union of Seventh-day Adventists were provided training in differentiated instruction training during the summers of 2013-2016. However, there were no formal follow-up communications to report or to share their experiences with implementing the newly learned method of instruction. The purposes of this study were (a) to describe the teachers' beliefs and levels of practice of differentiated instruction after completing the training; (b) to determine if there are differences in beliefs and practice; and (c) to describe methods of support for implementation of differentiated instructions.

Method

This study used a mixed-method design. The quantitative section used an online survey which was emailed to the 93 teachers of the Columbia Union who completed the differentiated instruction training. Fifty-four (54) competed and returned the surveys. The qualitative section involved eight teachers who indicated their willingness to be interviewed regarding their experiences with teaching using differentiated instruction after they had completed the training. Items for the online survey and interview protocol were developed based on the differentiated instruction innovation configuration by Kirner (2009). The quantitative data was. analyzed using descriptive statistics, Chi-square tests of association and a Z-test. The qualitative data analysis was conducted by identifying shared themes, patterns, characteristics and indicators present on the innovation configuration map and in the interviews. Coding of the transcribed interviews was completed by matching similar themes such as strategies, assessments, time, and collaboration. These codes were used to recognize noteworthy data that matched the categories of the innovation configuration categories of differentiated instruction.

Findings

Overall, between 84% to 91% of teachers believe in features of differentiated instruction in the areas of content, process and assessment. For the practice of these features, only 46% reported practicing the assessment statements, 69% for content the content statements, and 71% for the process statements. Wilcoxon signed rank tests indicated that there are statistically significant (p<.05) differences between beliefs and frequency of practice. Interviews with the eight teachers indicated that most teachers shared with and received ideas from other teacher concerning differentiated instruction. Most teachers also self-reflect and observe other teachers implement differentiated instruction.

Conclusion

The results indicate that teachers' level of practice is not consistent with their level of beliefs about differentiated instruction. Fewer teachers practice differentiated instruction, especially in the areas of assessment. There appears to be high levels of interactions among teachers in the implementation of differentiated instruction. Future staff developments should focus on ways to narrow the gap between beliefs and practice as well as include teachers beyond the Columbia Union with and without the training.

Subject Area

Effective teaching; Teachers--Training of; Career development; Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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