Investigation of impacts of differentiated instruction applied in a primary school in attitudes of students towards the course

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Cihad Senturk Hakan Sari

Abstract

The aim of this study is to identify impacts of the differentiated instruction implemented in the primary school 4th grade science course in attitudes of the students towards the course. The mixed method-designed and carried out research was conducted with 9-10 aged students in 4th grade in a primary school in the city of Bilecik in Turkey during the 2015-2016 educational year Spring semester. Prior to experimental practices, two 4th grade classes whose equivalents determined were assigned as experimental and control groups randomly. Prior to experimental implementations, interests, readiness levels and learning profiles of the experimental group students were identified. The current curriculum was differentiated according to the individual characteristics and differences of the students in line with the basic principles of the differentiated instruction, in terms of content, process, output, environment and assessment factors. The pattern of the research was an enriched pattern of one of the mixed methods in which quantitative and qualitative research methods are together carried out. The differentiated instructional process implemented in the primary school 4th grade science course for 12 weeks was conducted by the teacher and monitored by the researcher through natural and systematic observations.  In the study, quantitative data were obtained with the science attitude scale and quantitative data were obtained with observations, student diaries and interviews with students and teachers. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics and t test, qualitative data were analysed using the content analysis. At the end of the study, a statistically significant difference was observed between the groups in favour of the experimental group comparing post-test scores of the experimental and control groups obtained from the attitude towards the course scale. As for the qualitative data, findings indicated that the differentiated instruction improved attitudes of the students towards the course. Various recommendations were suggested for practitioners and researchers in line with the findings emerged in this study.

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