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ACTION RESEARCH

EFFECT OF THE DIFFERENTIATED LEARNING TASKS (DLT) TO


THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF SEGMENTED LEARNERS IN THE
MUNICIPALITY OF PIGCAWAYAN
INTRODUCTION
Teachers have been encouraged to utilize cooperative learning
strategy in teaching the pupils. This is to encourage pupils/students to work
as a team and to share/ communicate their ideas within their group which
when habitually done, will improve their self confidence and communication
skills. Cooperative learning is an educational approach which aims to
organize classroom activities into academic and social learning experiences.
There is much more to cooperative learning than merely arranging students
into groups, and it has been described as "structuring positive
interdependence." Students must work in groups to complete tasks
collectively toward academic goals. Unlike individual learning, which can be
competitive in nature, students learning cooperatively can capitalize on one
anothers resources and skills (asking one another for information, evaluating
one anothers ideas, monitoring one anothers work, etc.). Furthermore, the
teacher's role changes from giving information to facilitating students'
learning. Everyone succeeds when the group succeeds. Ross and Smyth
(1995) describe successful cooperative learning tasks as intellectually
demanding, creative, open-ended, and involve higher order thinking tasks.
Five essential elements are identified for the successful incorporation of
cooperative learning in the classroom. The first and most important element
is positive interdependence. The second element is individual and group
accountability. The third element is (face to face) promotive interaction. The
fourth element is teaching the students the required interpersonal and small
group skills. The fifth element is group processing. According to Johnson and
Johnson's meta-analysis, students in cooperative learning settings compared
to those in individualistic or competitive learning settings, achieve more,

reason better, gain higher self-esteem, like classmates and the learning tasks
more and have more perceived social support.
However, one of the problems encountered in cooperative learning
strategy employed by the teachers is on grouping technique which is
groundless. Teachers usually used random technique in grouping learners.
Teachers do not consider the ability of the learners. Furthermore, the same
task is assigned to all groups regardless of their level of competence.
Learners in each group have to work on the same task with the same
duration and to present the same output during reporting which is most
often repetitive and a waste of time. Group performance is also rated by a
standardized rubric for all groups. As a result , fast learners are not
challenged and bored for they finished the task ahead of time set. Slow
learners often times are at lost because the same standard is used in which
they have the difficulty of coping with.
Moreover, teacher doesnt know whom to assist because slow learners
are dispersed in the different groups. Slow learners could not cope up with
the time and have inferior output making them apprehensive during sharing
of ideas within their group and group presentation. Most often slow learners
mixed with average and fast learners have the tendency to be inactive and
dependent to more superior group members. The overall result of the
current practice of cooperative learning as a strategy employed by teachers
does not significantly improve learning performance. The strategy especially
if not managed well only resulted to mediocre performance of both learners
and teachers. It is for this reason that a modified cooperative learning
strategy entitled Differentiated Learning Tasks (DLT) for Segmented
Learners is introduced.
Differentiated Learning Tasks (DLT) for Segmented Learners
is a modified cooperative learning strategy.

A small size of class will be

grouped into three; fast, average and slow learners. Big size of class can
have 6 groups; 2 groups for each segment. Segmentation of pupils/students
according to their level of competence offers a lot of benefits to teachers and
learners.

The teacher prepares the same objective for the whole class but each
group has different levels of tasks depending on learners category. To
manage effectively the DLT, the teacher has to prepare three different
activity sheets in one learning session; one is designed for the fast learners ,
the other is for the average and a separate activity sheet for slow learners.
The activity sheets contains directions and series of subtasks
arranged from simple to complex to be performed by each group. Fast
learners will have higher level of task or more challenging task than the
average group while slow learners have simplified tasks. Higher level task
for fast learners is designed to challenge them and to perform better while
the simplified task is designed for slow learners which can be used for
individual tutoring in a class. Furthermore, DLT will help teachers manage
the whole class for she knows where to focus most of her time and energy in
assisting learners.
The learners are segmented mainly according to their academic level.
One way to segment is on their reading and comprehension skills. The
group can be classified as fast readers, average readers and slow readers.
However, the teacher does not label them as such. It could be Group A for
fast readers, Group B for average and Group C for slow readers. Another
technique of segmenting learners may be employed by the teacher.
In DLT, Group A can be assigned to answer questions that promote
higher order thinking skills such as why and how. They can be tasked to
read the whole selection in silent reading (without the assistance of
teacher) and to answer orally the questions using their own words.
Moreover, they can be tasked to make a summary of the selection and to
present them in the class. The teacher allows the group to work
independently. To sum up, Group A will be given more challenging and extra
tasks compared to the average group to challenge them.
Group B or the average group may be limited to reading one or two
paragraphs and to answer wh questions only. They may be tasked to
write their answers on the wh questions on a piece of paper and to read

their answers or to read the paragraph that contains the answer during
group presentation of outputs. Here, the teacher provides minimal
assistance in which aim is just to see whether they are on the right track. In
short, Group B or the average group has task just enough to challenge them.
Group C or the slow readers on the other hand has simplified task.
This is the group that will be given more attention by the teacher. They can
be assigned to read a sentence , a phrase or sentences/phrases
where the answer for the wh questions are found. They may be tasked to
read orally the sentences/phrases or words by group, by pair and by
individual focusing on correct pronunciation. The answer to the wh
questions can have options. This could be writing the letters of the correct
answer. In summary, Group C or slow readers have simplified task that
focuses on reading important words in the selection and on the technique of
answering wh questions.

Objectives
The action research has the following objectives:
1. Measure the pretest and posttest gain scores of learners under the
Differentiated

Learning Tasks (DLT) for Segmented Learners

2. Determine the significant difference between the pretest and


posttest
gain scores of learners
3. Find out the effect of Differentiated Learning Tasks (DLT) for
Segmented
Learners on the academic performance of the learners.

II. Review of Related Literature


Just as everyone has a unique fingerprint, each learner has an
individual style of learning. Not all students in a classroom learn a subject in

the same way or share the same level of ability. Differentiated instruction is a
method of designing and delivering instruction to best reach each student.
Carol Ann Tomlinson is a leader in the area of differentiated learning and
professor of educational leadership, foundations and policy at the University
of Virginia. Tomlinson describes differentiated instruction as factoring
students individual learning styles and levels of readiness first before
designing a lesson plan. Research on the effectiveness of differentiation
shows this method benefits a wide range of students, from those with
learning disabilities to those who are considered high ability.
Differentiating instruction may mean teaching the same material to all students
using a variety of instructional strategies, or it may require the teacher to deliver lessons
at varying levels of difficulty based on the ability of each student. Formative assessment
is an essential ingredient of this method.
Teachers who practice differentiation in the classroom may:

Design lessons based on students learning styles.

Group students by shared interest, topic or ability for assignments.

Assess students learning using formative assessment.

Manage the classroom to create a safe and supportive environment.

Continually assess and adjust lesson content to meet students needs.

It makes sense to provide different avenues of learning for students to reach the
same destination. Research by educator Leslie Owen Wilson supports differentiating
instruction within the classroom. Wilson found lecture is the least effective instructional
strategy, with only 5 to 10 percent retention after 24 hours. Engaging in a discussion,
practicing after exposure to content and teaching others are much more effective ways
to ensure learning retention.

According to Tomlinson, teachers can differentiate instruction through four ways: 1)


content, 2) process, 3) product, and 4) learning environment.

1. Content
Fundamental lesson content should cover the standards of learning set by the school
district or state educational standards. Some students in a class may be completely
unfamiliar with the concepts in a lesson, some students may have partial mastery, and
some students may already be familiar with the content before the lesson begins.
The teacher may differentiate the content by designing activities for groups of
students that cover various levels of Blooms Taxonomy (a classification of levels of
intellectual behavior going from lower-order thinking skills to higher-order thinking skills).
The six levels are: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating and
creating.
Students who are unfamiliar with a lesson may be required to complete tasks on the
lower levels: remembering and understanding. Students with some mastery may be
asked to apply and analyze the content, and students who have high levels of mastery
may be asked to complete tasks in the areas of evaluating and creating.
Examples of differentiating activities:

Match vocabulary words to definitions.

Read a passage of text and answer related questions.

Think of a situation that happened to a character in the story and a different


outcome.

Differentiate fact from opinion in the story.

Identify an authors position and provide evidence to support this viewpoint.

Create a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the lesson.

2. Process
Each learner has a preferred learning style, and successful differentiation includes
delivering the material to each style: visual, auditory and kinesthetic and through words.
Not all learners require the same amount of support from the teacher, and students
could choose to work in pairs, small groups or individually. While some students may
benefit from one-on-one interaction with a teacher or classroom aide, others may be
able to progress by themselves. Teachers can enhance student learning by offering
support based on individual needs.
Examples of differentiating the process:

Provide textbooks for visual and word learners.

Allow auditory learners to listen to audio books.

Give kinesthetic learners the opportunity to complete an interactive assignment


online.

3. Product
The product is what the student creates at the end of the lesson to demonstrate the
mastery of the content. This can be in the form of tests, projects, reports or other
activities. Teachers may assign students to complete activities that show mastery of an
educational concept in a way the student prefers, based on learning style.
Examples of differentiating the end product:

Read and write learners write a book report.

Visual learners create a graphic organizer of the story.

Auditory learners give an oral report.

Kinesthetic learners build a diorama illustrating the story.

4. Learning environment
The conditions for optimal learning include both physical and psychological
elements. A flexible classroom layout is key, incorporating various types of furniture and
arrangements to support both individual and group work. Psychologically speaking,
teachers should use classroom management techniques that support a safe and
supportive learning environment.
Examples of differentiating the environment:

Break some students into reading groups to discuss the assignment.

Allow students to read individually if preferred.

Research shows differentiated instruction is effective for high-ability students as


well as students with mild to severe disabilities.

When students are given more options on how they can learn material, they take
on more responsibility for their own learning.

Students appear to be more engaged in learning, and there are reportedly fewer
discipline problems in classrooms where teachers provide differentiated lessons.

Differentiated instruction requires more work during lesson planning, and many
teachers struggle to find the extra time in their schedule.

The learning curve can be steep and some schools lack professional
development resources.

Pros and cons of differentiated instruction

The benefits of differentiation in the classroom are often accompanied by the


drawback of an ever-increasing workload. Here are factors to keep in mind:

Pros

Research shows differentiated instruction is effective for high-ability students as


well as students with mild to severe disabilities.

When students are given more options on how they can learn material, they take
on more responsibility for their own learning.

Students appear to be more engaged in learning, and there are reportedly fewer
discipline problems in classrooms where teachers provide differentiated lessons.

Cons

Differentiated instruction requires more work during lesson planning, and many
teachers struggle to find the extra time in their schedule.

The learning curve can be steep and some schools lack professional
development resources.

Critics argue there isnt enough research to support the benefits of differentiated
instruction outweighing the added prep time.

The Strategies:
Teachers can use a variety of assessments to determine a student's ability or
readiness. Also, to learn new concepts students may be generally working below or
above grade level or they may simply be missing necessary prerequisite skills.

However, readiness is constantly changing and as readiness changes it is important


that students be permitted to move between different groups (see flexible grouping).
Activities for each group are often differentiated by complexity. Students whose
understanding is below grade level will work at tasks inherently less complex than
those attempted by more advanced students. Those students whose reading level is
below grade level will benefit by reading with a buddy or listening to
stories/instructions using a tape recorder so that they receive information verbally.

Varying the level of questioning (and consequent thinking skills) and compacting the
curriculum and are useful strategies for accommodating differences in ability or
readiness.
Adjusting Questions
During large group discussion activities, teachers direct the higher level
questions to the students who can handle them and adjust questions accordingly for
student with greater needs. All students are answering important questions that
require them to think but the questions are targeted towards the students ability or
readiness level.
An easy tool for accomplishing this is to put posters on the classroom walls with
key words that identify the varying levels of thinking. For example I used to put 6
posters on my walls (based on Bloom's taxonomy) one for Knowledge,
Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. These were useful
cues for me when conducting class discussions and useful for my students when
they were required to develop their own research questions. Different students may
be referred to different posters at certain times depending on ability, readiness or
assignment requirements.
With written quizzes the teacher may assign specific questions for each group of
students. They all answer the same number of questions but the complexity required
varies from group to group. However, the option to go beyond minimal requirements
can be available for any or all students who demonstrate that they require an
additional challenge for their level.

Compacting Curriculum

Compacting the curriculum means assessing a students knowledge, skills and


attitudes and providing alternative activities for the student who has already mastered
curriculum content. This can be achieved by pre-testing basic concepts or using
performance assessment methods. Students who demonstrate that they do not require
instruction move on to tiered problem solving activities while others receive instruction.

III. Methodology
This action research will be conducted on September to October 2015
at selected public elementary schools in the Municipality of Pigcawayan,
Cotabato. The subject of this research are the selected grades I to VI pupils
in English subject who will be taught with Differentiated Learning Tasks (DLT).
The selected teachers in English from grades I to VI will develop pretest
and posttest of twenty (20) identified least learned competencies in their
second grading period from grades I to VI. The teachers will also develop
activity sheets per identified least learned competency or objective for fast,
average and slow readers.
III.1 Administration of the Pretest
The pretest will be administered to all pupils prior to the use of
DLT in teaching. The said pretest will be developed by the teachers during
the in-service training.
III.2 Actual Conduct of the Learning Session
The teachers will prepare the DLL and fallow the usual start of the
lesson with review, motivation and other learning activities. However, during
the group activity, the teachers will be using the activity sheets during the
actual teaching-learning interaction particularly in cooperative learning.
Each class will be divided into three groups; fast readers, average and slow.
Small class can have one group for each category while bigger class can

have six groups, two groups for fast readers, two for average and two for
slow.
During the group activity, the teacher will distribute activity sheets per
group. The activity sheet for fast readers are more complex and have higher
level tasks while the activity sheets for slow readers are simplified. In brief,
each segment of learners has varying level of activity. The activity sheet is
designed to challenge each segment and is according to their level and pace.
The activity sheets will be distributed to the whole class
simultaneously. It contains the series of directions and activities which will be
followed by each group. With this, there will less verbal instruction from the
teacher. The teacher will just monitor around to see if the pupils are
following the directions on their activity sheet and to check whether they are
on track. The teacher will have more time to focus on the group that needs
assistance.
III.3 Administration of the Posttest
The posttest will be conducted to all groups; fast, average and
slow from grades I to VI who will be given the DLT intervention. The said
posttest will be administered after the twenty identified least learned
English competencies in the first grading period have been taught using the
DLT.
The improvement (gain) from pretest to posttest can be computed for each participant by
subtracting each person's pretest score from his or her posttest score.

To find out the pupils

gain score between the pretest and posttest, this formula will be used:
Pupils Gain Score =
Where:

P2

= posttest scores

P1

= pretest scores

P2- P1

To find out whether there is significant difference between the pretest


and posttest and gain scores for the same group of learners, this formula
below will be used:

Where:
is the sum of all the individuals pre-post score differences.
is the sum of all the individuals pre-post score differences squared.
is the number of paired observations.

IV. Data Presentation and Interpretation

V. Recommendation