Teacher Philosophy of Differentiated Instruction: Teacher Perception Compared to Principal Perception


James Bradley

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 1-1-2007


Campus Only

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Jean R. Higgins

Committee Member

Carol S. Parke

Committee Member

Elizabeth Gensante


differentiated instruction, principal perception, teacher perception


A comparison between teacher and principal self-reported perceptions of the type and amount of differentiation instructional strategies and activities was investigated in this study to note similarities and differences in self-reported survey results. Participants included 31 principals and 206 first, third and fifth grade teachers from western Pennsylvania public schools who completed a self-reporting survey created based upon the researcher's review of literature on the topic of differentiated instruction. Descriptive and inferential statistics were utilized to analyze the study's data to answer the six research questions pertaining to teachers' and principals' perceptions, comparisons between the two groups, and comparisons based upon grade level. Utilizing reliability analysis, survey results were combined within two dimensions: assessment and instruction. Statistical analysis was conducted on individual survey items and the two dimensions. Results indicated that participants perceived the use of differentiated instructional strategies as occurring at similar rates within the classrooms in this study. Significant differences were not found between participants' perceptions. Additional information collected from two open-ended survey items indicated similarities in the types of specific differentiation activities described by participants and their professional development experiences related to differentiated instruction. The study concluded that teachers' and principals' perceptions were similar in terms of the type and extent of differentiated instruction perceived to be occurring in the classrooms. Limitations regarding self-perceived notions of instruction compared to actual classroom observation data were noted, as well as future revisions to the study's survey instruments to more clearly define certain differentiated instructional activities listed within the survey.





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