The Impact of Differentiated Instruction in a Teacher Education Setting: Successes and Challenges

Stephen Joseph, Marlene Thomas, Gerard Simonette, Leela Ramsook


This study examined the impact of using a differentiated instructional approach to teaching second year students pursuing an undergraduate course in curriculum studies at a tertiary institution. These prospective teachers varied in terms of their interests, experiences, personal circumstances, and learning preferences. Four hundred and thirty-four students in two education campuses took the course over a period of one semester. Half of the student body experienced differentiated instruction while the other half was exposed to the whole- class instructional approach. At the end of the course, an assessment was made to determine the extent to which differentiated instruction had a positive impact on students’ general understanding of the course. Findings of the study revealed that students at both campuses responded favourably to the differentiated instructional approach, with 90% of participants reporting higher levels of intellectual growth and interest in the subject. Assessment of student learning revealed that the majority of students in the differentiated classrooms demonstrated sound understanding of major concepts taught in the curriculum studies course. Almost all of the students (99%) expressed willingness to experiment with differentiated instruction in subsequent practicum sessions during their tenure at the university, and 88% indicated a desire to use a differentiated instructional approach in their classrooms upon graduation.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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