Date of Award

8-1-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

Abstract

Educators inevitably realize that their classrooms are diverse environments with regards to student interests, learning styles, and abilities. Research has shown that differentiating instruction promotes student learning by taking into account student complexities. Moreover, research has shown that teaching probability with activities and experiments can be advantageous. However, research has not been completed to determine if differentiating activities along with instruction can be similarly beneficial. For the researcher's purpose, probability activities and differentiating instruction were explored simultaneously. The researcher sought to conduct this investigation in the context of a rural New York private school. Varied activity based instruction was utilized to instruct students who were split into two groups . These groups , an upper differentiation group (UD) and a lower differentiation group (LD) , were formed based on their prior knowledge determined by a pretest. Throughout the course of the research, these two groups learned probability through activity based instruction and guided worksheets, with the UD group being offered less support and the LD group being more supported by the researcher. Each day, the students were assigned homework with choices. Upon completion of the unit, students were given a posttest. Surveys and interviews were also utilized to determine student perceptions of mathematics prior to and subsequent to the research. All areas of research offered numerous venues to be statistically analyzed revealing the pros and cons of the differentiated instruction.

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