Differentiating Instruction in Geometry and Pre-Calculus

Bryan Coe, Rush-Henrietta Math Teacher

As a Math teacher at Rush Henrietta, I teach a total of 98 students dispersed among my 2 sections of Geometry and 2 sections of Pre-Calculus.  My Pre-Calculus class is at Rush Henrietta High School and consists of juniors and seniors.  My Geometry class is taught at the Rush Henrietta’s Ninth Grade academy, and consists of 9th grade accelerated students.

For my action research project, I decided to look at the impact differentiation had on my students.  I wanted to look at the social, emotional, and academic impact it had on them.  I also wanted to look and see if my students demonstrated growth in their understanding of the concepts that I differentiated and if their test scores improved.

My plan was to differentiate at least one lesson in each of my units in Geometry and Pre-Calculus for the first semester. Differentiation has been linked to increased student engagement and better content understanding. My goal was to try a variety of approaches for differentiation and see which method was the most effective, which method I preferred as an educator and to survey the student to see what method they preferred as well.  I also incorporated some 21st century learning tools and the use of technology within these units as well.  I followed this plan in both my Pre-Calculus and Geometry courses.

For my action research plan, I used my Pre-Calculus classes to analyze what impact the differentiation had on students test scores and overall achievement. I have taught the class for the past five years and I figured I could compare test score between this year’s students and last year’s classes.  I also looked at what happened when I differentiated in one class and not the next. My action research report, Differentiating Instruction in Geometry and Pre-Calculus,  really looks at my journey as an educator through differentiation and the impact it had on me and my students.

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