Differentiated Instruction in the High School Science Classroom: Qualitative and Quantitative Analyses

Jane Ragasa Pablico, Moustapha Diack, Albertha Lawson


This study aimed to determine the effect of Differentiated Instruction (DI) on learning outcomes of high school science students using a convergent, parallel, mixed method research. The qualitative component of the research was a phenomenological approach which explored individual beliefs, experiences and perceptions of teachers about DI. The quantitative part involved a comparison in the End-of-Course (EOC) performance of biology students exposed to DI versus those not exposed to DI. Personal interviews with six science teachers and survey results from 65 biology students revealed that teachers and students alike have positive perceptions of DI. The teachers perceived DI as an effective instructional method for improving student engagement and academic performance. More students scored Good/Excellent in the DI group (76.9%) compared with the Non-DI group (67.6%). However, analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) suggests that at 5% level, the DI group did not perform significantly higher than the non-DI group (p=.12).  This implies that there is no significant effect of DI on student learning outcomes measured by EOC. Although the quantitative result of the study did not show a significantly higher EOC score in the DI group, differentiated instruction positively impacted the learning process by increasing student engagement in class. 


differentiated instruction; high school science; teachers’ perceptions; teaching strategies

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