A model of differentiation like Carol Ann Tomlinson’s (click here for more information) contains numerous instructional strategies which may be employed independently or in concert and in many possible combinations. This makes such a model very difficult to research and evaluate. Saying that, below are some fairly recent findings that I found interesting, and I hope you will, too.
Tiered ability grouping combined with differentiated learning materials increases the gap in achievement between lower and higher ability students.
Lower ability students’ achievement is enhanced through collaboration with higher ability classmates.
Schofield, J.W. (2010). International evidence on ability grouping with curriculum differentiation and the achievement gap in secondary schools. Teachers College Record, 112(5), 1492 – 1528.
The concept of ‘learning styles’ is insufficiently clear or evidenced, and therefore should not be a deciding factor when differentiating instruction.
Landrum, T.J., & McDuffie, K.A. (2010). Learning styles in the age of differentiated instruction. Exceptionality, 18(1), 6 – 17.
Differentiated Instruction has a positive effect on student engagement and motivation.
Konstantinou-Katzi, P., Tsolaki, E., Maletiou-Mavrotheris, M., & Koutselini, M. (2012). Differentiation of teaching and learning mathematics: an action research study in tertiary education. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 44(3), 332 – 349.
Educational technology shows promise as a means to make the differentiation of instruction and provision of individualised formative feedback more feasible and practical.
Scalise, K. et al. (2007). Adaptive technology for e-learning: principles and case studies of an emerging field. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58 (14), 2295 – 2309.
Many teachers report that they lack “the time, the skill and the will” to utilise DI strategies. This situation could be ameliorated through support from curriculum developers and publishers of educational materials.
Hertberg-Davis, H. (2009). Myth 7: Differentiation in the regular classroom is equivalent to gifted programs and is sufficient: Classroom teachers have the time, the skill, and the will to differentiate adequately. Gifted Child Quarterly, 53, 251-253.