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Measuring differentiated instruction from different perspectives

Bach Kolling, N. (2020) Measuring differentiated instruction from different perspectives.

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Abstract:The process of adapting education to student differences is called differentiation. Previous research shows that students are more involved, more motivated and better performing when teachers differentiate their education. Therefore the Dutch Ministry of Education and the primary education counsel have made differentiation skills a basic requirement for all teachers in 2020. As a result, it is important that instruments are developed to assess teachers’ differentiation skills. There are three common methods for measuring differentiation: classroom observations by external observers, teacher self-assessments and student surveys. This research examined the degree of agreement between these three rater-groups on how they assess teachers’ differentiation behaviour. To compare the different perspectives, an instrument was developed that includes similar items for all three rater-groups. The participants were nine primary school teachers (grade 8 to 10), their students (n = 171) and an external observer. They assessed the degree of differentiation during a math instruction for students in three instruction groups on 12 items. Cohen’s kappa was used to determine the degree of agreement between the different raters. Moderate to almost perfect agreement was found on 10 out of 96 items. The observer and the teachers agreed on six items. Teachers and students, and observer and students, agreed on only two items. Overall, the scores of the various rater-groups show little agreement. There is almost no agreement between rater-groups in the basic instruction group and fair agreement in the enrichment group and intensive group. The results show that when measuring differentiation, it is important to consider which measurement method to use, as the scores will differ depending on the chosen method.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:81 education, teaching
Programme:Educational Science and Technology MSc (60023)
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