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Victoria Reyes Elementary School

Dasmarias City

An Action Research on the Effectiveness of


Differentiated Instruction In Teaching English for Grade
Four Classes
By

Mary Joy V. Olicia


Researcher
I. Introduction
Like Science and Math, English is a difficult but an important subject because the curriculum
considers it as a tool subject needed to understand the different content subjects. Basically, it is
concerned with developing competencies in listening, speaking, reading, writing, and viewing.
Speaking includes skills in using the language expressions and grammatical structures correctly
in oral communication while writing skill includes readiness skills, mechanics in guided writing,
functional and creative writing (K to 12 Curriculum Guide for Grade 4).

The K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum aims to help learners understand that English language
is involved in the dynamic social process which responds to and reflects changing social
conditions. It is also inextricably involved with values, beliefs and ways of thinking about the
person and the world people dwell. The curriculum aims that pupils are given an opportunity to
build upon their prior knowledge while utilizing their own skills, interests, styles, and talents.

However, teachers find difficulties in teaching different kinds of pupils with different intellectual
capacities, talent or skills, interest, and learning styles especially in heterogeneous groupings of
pupils. This situation calls for teachers to create lessons for all pupils based upon their
readiness, interests, and background knowledge. Anderson (2007) noted that it is imperative
not to exclude any child in a classroom, so a differentiated learning environment must be
provided by a teacher.

Differentiated instruction is based on the concept that the teacher is a facilitator of information,
while students take the primary role of expanding their knowledge by making sense of their
ability to learn differently (Robinson, Maldonado, & Whaley, 2014).

Wilson (2009) argued that differentiated instruction is the development of the simple to the
complex tasks, and a difference between individuals that are otherwise similar in certain
respects such as age or grade are given consideration. Additionally, Butt and Kusar (2010)
stated that it is an approach to planning, so that one lesson may be taught to the entire class
while meeting the individual needs of each child.
According to Tomlinson (2009), DI as a philosophy of teaching is based on the premise that
students learn best when their teachers accommodate the differences in their readiness levels,
interests, and learning profiles. It sees the learning experience as social and collaborative. The
responsibility of what happens in the classroom is first to teacher, but also to the learner
(Subban, 2006). Additionally, DI presents an effective means to address learners variance which
avoids the pitfalls of the one-size-fits-all curriculum. Stronge (2004) and Tomlinson (2004b)
claimed that addressing student differences and interest enhance their motivation to learn and
make them to remain committed and to stay positive as well.

Stravroula (2011) conducted a study in investigating the impact of DI in mixed ability classrooms
and found out that the implementation of differentiation had made a big step in facing the
negative effects of socio-economic factors on students achievement by managing diversity
effectively, providing learning opportunities for all students. The positive change in students
achievement had shown that differentiation can be considered as an effective teaching
approach in mixed ability classrooms.

Furthermore, Servilio (cited by Robinson, 2014) studied the effectiveness of using DI to motivate
students to read and found out that an average of 83.4% of the students grades improved in
reading, 12.5% remained the same, and 41% of the grades decreased.

As educator, the teacher-researcher was motivated to conduct this action research on the
effectiveness of DI in teaching English on Grade Four pupils for a week-long lesson. She also she
wanted to know the effect of this method on the academic performance of the pupils from
results of the diagnostic and achievement test.

II. Statement of the Problem


This study determined the effectiveness of conducting DI to Grade Four English class.
Specifically, it answered the following.

1. What is the performance of the two groups of respondents in the pretest?

1.1. Control group

1.2. Experimental group

2. What is the performance of the two groups of respondents in the posttest?

1.1. Control group

1.2. Experimental group

3. Is there a significant difference between the pretest scores of the control and experimental
group?
4. Is there a significant difference between the posttest scores of the control and experimental
group?

5. Is there a significant difference between the pretest and posttest scores of the control and
experimental group?

III. Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance.

1. There is no significant difference between the pretest result of the experimental


and control group.
2. There is no significant difference between the posttest result of the experimental
and control group.
3. There is no significant difference between the pretest and posttest result of the
experimental and control group.
IV. Methodology
This action research utilized the experimental design since its main purpose was to determine
the effectiveness of DI and its possible effect to the mean gain scores on achievement of pupils
on a one-week lesson in Grade 4 English.

Two groups were taught the same lessons for one week. The control group was taught using
the single teaching with similar activities approach while the experimental group was taught
using DI with three sets of activities and three sets of evaluation and facilitation for the three
groupings of pupils for the one-week duration. Two regular sections were included in the study
out of the five Grade 4 sections that the school have.

Both groups were given the diagnostic test on Friday, September 25, 2015 to identify the
classification of pupils whether they belong to the above average group, average group, and
below average group. The achievement test was administered on Monday, October 5, 2015 the
following week using parallel teacher-made tests. The number of pupils was again identified to
know whether there was change in their classification. The results of the pretest and the
posttest were compared to determine whether using DI is effective or not.

Data Gathering
After seeking the approval from the principal, the teacher-researcher started the experiment
for a week.

The scores of both the pretest and the posttest were taken and these data were coded, tallied,
and were statistically treated using the mean, standard deviation, and t-test of significant
difference.

The mean and the standard deviation were used to determine the level of performance of
control and experimental groups and the classification of pupils, while the t-test was employed
to determine the significant difference of the mean scores on pretest and posttest of both
groups.

V. Results and Discussions


The following are the results and the analysis done from the data.

A. Performance of the Two Groups of Respondents in the Diagnostic Test


(Pretest)
The result of the pretest of the two class groups is presented in Table 1.

Diagnostic scores reveal that the control group has a mean of 11.76 (Sd=4.06) while the
experimental group reported a mean score of 12.07 (sd=3.56) which is a little higher.

Table 1
Pretest Results of the Control and the Experimental
Groups Prior to the Experiment
Groups N Mean Standard Deviation

Control Group 49 11.76 4.06

Experimental Group 51 12.07 3.56


The variance results of 4.06 and 3.56 are not that big which signify that both classes are
heterogeneous; meaning the pupils were of differing level of intelligence. This is indeed a good
baseline since the results suggest that the two sections included in the study are almost the
same in the manner that the scores are scattered. This means that the pupils grouping are
mixed as to their abilities.

Tomlinson (2009) claimed that pupils differences should be addressed and the two groups
became an ideal grouping for which the experiment was conducted concerning DI.

B. Performance of the Two Groups of Respondents in the Achievement Test


(Posttest)
Table 2
Pretest Results of the Control and the Experimental
Groups Prior to the Experiment
Groups N Mean Standard Deviation

Control Group 49 13.82 3.53

Experimental Group 51 16.45 2.34


The level of performance of the two groups in the posttest is presented in Table 2.
The experimental group of pupils who were exposed to DI obtains a mean score of 16.45
(Sd=2.34) while the control group who were taught using the traditional method obtain a mean
score of 13.82 (Sd=3.53).

The result showed that the posttest scores of the experimental groups taught with DI is
remarkably better as compared to those which were taught the traditional approach. Looking
at the standard deviation scores, it signifies that the variance of the experimental group was
smaller than that of the control group which suggest that the pupils intellectual ability were not
scattered unlike in the pretest result.

The finding is supported by Stravroulas (2011) study on DI where was able to prove that DI is
effective as it positively effects the diverse pupils characteristics. Stronges (2004) contention
that DI can enhance motivation and performance also supports the result.

C. Classification of Pupils in the Control and Experimental Group Based on the


Pretest and Posttest Scores Results
Table 3
Classification of Pupils Before and After the Differentiated Instruction

Table 3 presents the grouping of the pupils both in the control and in the experimental group
As per classification of students based on the mean and standard deviation results, a majority
of the pupils were on the average group for the control and experimental group prior to the
treatment. However, after the experiment, there was a big increase in number of pupils for the
average group for the control group and a larger number now belongs to the above average
group. There were no pupils reported to be in the below average group for both the control
and the experimental group.

Data suggest that both approach in teaching increased the achievement but remarkable
increase was noted in the group taught with DI.

D. Classification of Pupils in the Control and Experimental Group Based on the


Pretest and Posttest Scores Results
Table 3.1
Classification of Pupils Before and After the Differentiated Instruction
Table 3.1 shows that as per classification of students based on the mean and standard
deviation results, a majority of the pupils were on the average group for the control and
experimental group prior to the treatment of using DI to the experimental group.

It could be noticed that the percentages of classification are not far from each other. The idea
presented by Tomlinson (2009) that differences of pupils should be addressed by the teacher in
the classroom is good and according to Robinson, et.al, the teachers are the best facilitators of
learning for pupils of diverse background and abilities.

Table 3.2
Classification of Pupils After the Differentiated Instruction

Table 3.2 presents that after the experiment, there was a big increase in number of pupils for
the average group for the control group and a larger number now belongs to the above
average group. There were no pupils reported to be in the below average group for both the
control and the experimental group.

Data suggest that both approach in teaching increased the achievement but remarkable
increase was noted in the group taught with DI. This improvement in the classification or
grouping of pupils in both groups assumes the principle that both groups who are taught by
the same teacher with the same lesson could normally have a change in aptitude especially if
the teacher has addressed the differences as averred by Anderson (2007). However, the
notable changes in the experimental group is surely brought about by the DI exposed to them
as supported by Stravroula (2011), Subban (2006), and Stronge (2004). With the DI, the teachers
approach to the teaching and the activities may have affected very well the acquisition of the
learning competencies as was mentioned by Wilson (2009). Specifically however, in English, the
contentions of Sevillano (cited by Robinson et al, 2014) directly supports the result.

E. Results of Significant Difference Between the Pretest Scores of the Control


and Experimental Group
Table 4
Significant Difference Between the Pretest Scores of the Control Group and
Experimental Group

Table 4 presents the significant difference in the pretest scores of the two groups.

The computed t-ratio of 0.8109 is lesser than the tabular of 1.9845 at 98 degrees of freedom.
Hence the hypothesis of no significant difference is accepted. There is no significant difference
in the pretest scores of the class groups.

This result is good since the baseline data prior to the use of DI suggest that the pupils have
similar intellectual abilities which will be very crucial for trying out the experiment in the
teaching approach. The data suggest that the groups are very ideal for the experiment since
they possess similarities prior to the experiment.

F. Significant Difference Between the Posttest Scores of the Control and


Experimental Group
Table 5 presents the significant difference of the posttest scores between the control and the
experimental group.

Table 5
Results of Post-test the Control and Experimental Group

From the data, it is very clear that the difference in scores in the achievement favor the
experimental group which was taught using DI. Hence, it is safe to say that DI is effective based
on the data generated.
G. Significant Difference Between the Pre-test and Post-test Scores of the
Control and Experimental Group
Table 6
Significant Difference Between the Pretest and Posttest Scores of the Control
and Experimental Group

Table 6 presents the comparison of the pretest and post test scores of the control and the
control groups.

Clearly, for the control, there is no significant difference as signified by the computed t
coefficient of 0.09 which is lesser than the tabular value of 1.9850 using 96 degrees of freedom.
However, for the control group, it is very obvious that the calculated t-ratio of 1.02 is greater
than the tabular value of 1.9840. Hence, the hypothesis of no significant difference between the
pretest and posttest scores for the control group is accepted but is rejected for the
experimental group.

The results are very significant since the group exposed without DI did not report difference in
score unlike in the group taught using DI which showed significant difference. This then makes
it safe to conclude that DI is effective in teaching English.

VI. Findings
The following are the findings of this action research.

1. The mean scores of both control (11.76, Sd=4.06) and the experimental (12.07,
Sd=3.56) groups do not significantly differ based on the t-coefficient result of
0.8109 which is lesser than the tabular of 1.9845 at 98 degrees of freedom.
2. The mean scores of the control (16.45, Sd=2.34) and the experimental (13.82,
Sd=3.53) significantly differ which favor the use of DI from the t-ratio of 3.423 is
greater than the tabular value of 1.9845 at 0.05 level of significance using 98
degrees of freedom.
3. During the pretest, majority of the pupils are average (control group, 35 or
71.43% and 37 or 72.55%). After the treatment, however, majority of the pupils in
the control group became average (34 or 69.39%) and above average (35 or
68.63%).
4. There is no significant difference between the control groups pretest and
posttest scores based on the computed t coefficient of 0.09 which is lesser than
the tabular value of 1.9850 using 96 degrees of freedom but significant difference
exists for the experimental group as signified by the calculated t-ratio of 1.02 is
greater than the tabular value of 1.9840 using 98 degrees of freedom.
VII. Conclusions
Based on the findings, the following are the conclusions.

1. The pretest scores of the control and the experimental group do not differ
significantly.
2. The posttest scores of the groups significantly differ resulting to higher scores for
the experimental group.
3. No significant difference exists in the pretest and posttest scores of the control
group, but significant difference is noted for the experimental group.
4. There is an improvement in the groupings of pupils both in the control and
experimental group but significant improvement was shown for the pupils taught
using DI.
5. Use of DI is effective considering the higher scores of the experimental group
compared to the control group.
VIII. Recommendation
Based on the above findings and conclusions, the following recommendations are suggested.

1. DI should be used in teaching pupils in English especially in heterogeneous


classes because it improved their classroom performance.
2. Teachers should be given in-service trainings on DI for them to gain more
knowledge and clear understanding of the approach.
3. Although tedious on the part of the teachers, they should be encouraged to
prepare and use DI to motivate pupils to participate in class discussions.
4. This action research should be continued.
IX. References:
Anderson, K. M. (2007). Tips for teaching: Differentiating instruction to include all students.
Preventing School Failure, 51(3), pp. 49-54. Retrieved from Education Research Complete
database. (Accession No. 24944365)

Butt, M. & Kausar, S. (2010). A comparative study using differentiated instructions of public and
private school teachers. Malaysian Journal of Distance Education, 12(1), pp. 105-124. Retrieved
from Education Research Complete database. (Accession No. 78221508)

K to 12 Curriculum Guide, www.deped.gov.ph

Robinson, L., Maldonado, N., & Whaley, J. (2014). Perceptions about implementation of
differentiated instruction: Retrieved October 2015 http://mrseberhartsepicclass.weebly.com/
Stravroula, V. A, Leonidas., & Mary, K. (2011). investigating the impact of differentiated
instruction in mixed ability classrooms: Its impact on the quality and equity dimensions of
education effectiveness. Retrieved October 2015 http://www.icsei.net/icsei2011/Full
%20Papers/0155.pdf

Stronge, J. (2004). Teacher effectiveness and student achievement : What do good teachers do?
Paper presented at the American Association of School Administrators Annual Conference and
Exposition, San Francisco, California.

Subban, P.(2006). Differentiated Instruction: A research basis. International Education Journal,


7(7), pp. 935-947.

Tomlinson, C. A., (2009) Intersections between differentiation and literacy instruction: Shared
principles worth sharing. The NERA Journal, 45(1), 28-33.Retrieved from Education Research
Complete database. (Accession No. 44765141)

Tomlinson, C. A. (2004a). Differentiation in diverse settings. School Administrator, 61(7), 28-33

Wilson, S. (2009). Differentiated instruction: How are design, essential questions in learning,
assessment, and instruction part of it? New England Reading Association Journal, 44(2), pp. 68-
75. Retrieved from Education Source database. (Accession No. 508028374)