Chapter 1 Introduction Background of the problem The school system continued to expand at the beginning of the twentieth century but nonetheless continued to be guided by the nineteenth century colonial practice of educating children to fit in their station in life

Chapter 1
Introduction
Background of the problem
The school system continued to expand at the beginning of the twentieth century but nonetheless continued to be guided by the nineteenth century colonial practice of educating children to fit in their station in life (Hamilton, 1997, Whiteman 1994). Education is not just a part of life, but it is life itself in this modern-day society there is growing a desire to be educated. Education prepares one for the ever-changing demands of society and how to adapt to situations that life may present you with. Education is not preparation for life, but it is life itself (Dewey,1916).
The job market now demands even more than ever for higher education persons to be eligible for the diminishing number of vacancies. Thus, as result one must be able to solve problems and have critical thinking ability as well as qualification to be able to get jobs.
Upon observation of my previous High School there are situations where some students were left behind because they were not able to understand the content as quickly as others. They also had a hard time understanding the content through a teaching methodology and because of this difficulty the teacher often moves on with the lesson and the student is left with a misconception which may be very detrimental to their advancement throughout the rest of their tenor at school. The major issue that is affecting our high school is the matter of students in the system that are performing below grade level. And I quote “40-50% of students in the system are below their grade level (approximately 300,000 children)”. (Caribbean Education Foundation, 2007)
Differentiated instruction is constructed or can be defined as the ability to recognize student’s varying background knowledge, readiness, language, preferences in learning and interests; and to react responsively regarding these differences portrayed by each student. (Hall, T., Vie, G., Strangman, N., ; Meyler, A., 2003). And as a result, the method of instruction has a lot to do with student’s performance academically as students learn differently and are at different levels in terms of their level of intelligence. The same method of instruction should not be used for all students which is commonly done in current classrooms systems more so in a Principles of Business class.
It has become increasingly evident that students today enter school with a range of experiences, skills, abilities and interests. The fact that students learn at different rates and in different ways have also taken centre stage. Teachers continue to use the one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and learning. The same method of instruction should not be used for all students which is commonly done in current classroom systems more so in a Principles of Business class. Hence an investigation into the effects of differentiated instruction by learning styles on the academic performance of a set of mixed ability grade ten Principles of Business students in a high school in St. Elizabeth.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research is to ascertain the effects of differentiated instruction by learning styles on the academic performance of a set of mixed ability grade ten Principles of Business students in a High School in St. Elizabeth. It is aimed at finding out the difference in academic performance after the use of differentiated instruction. The research is also aimed at finding out how different the attitude if the sample will be towards Principles of Business.
Research Questions.
The following questions will guide the research to be conducted.
1) How effective is differentiated instruction on grade ten students’ academic performance
2) What are students’ reactions towards the use of differentiated instruction in the classroom?

Significance of the Study
Student academic performance is a general issue in our modern-day society because of the growing diversity of learners. To address this problem educational authorities, teachers and school administrators are looking to teaching strategies that cater for a variety of learning profiles. If a result of this issue students is` underperforming in the educational system then this indeed is a major concern for stakeholders that are involved in their lives, as a result this study is important to the following individuals/bodies in the society: the researcher, teachers, the Ministry of Education (M.O.E.), the principal and other stakeholders.
Thus, it is important to the researcher a s I gain tremendous knowledge that will be utilized in my classroom to impact students’ performance in a positive way. It will also solidify my teaching methodology and during the process modify and reflect on experiences during this research so that I will be able to have a meaningful impact in the lives of those I teach. It will also provide an avenue for me to gain experiences as conducting this research will build my knowledge in the classroom and ability thus enabling me to be able to handle situations which may occur in the classroom in a time-oriented manner that is effective and efficient.
It is also important to the Ministry of education of Jamaica as students are the future thus their performance is key. It will also be beneficial to the M.O.E. as the country is nothing without its human resource and if the young minds of the future are not catered to then there will be no leaders of tomorrow and the country will go into a state of “brain drain.” This is the reason why this research about improving students’ performance will be of such importance to the ministry as it will prove to be helpful to make nationwide to make wise informed decisions to improve the education system.
Teachers will benefit from this study as it will give new insight as to teaching students, in the sense that not all human beings think alike so upon conducting and completing this research there may be information that can be beneficial to teachers that are proven and can be used to enhance their lessons. Thus, it will provide clear, defined and accurately constructed information on a group of which can assist them on their journey to provide quality education to our developing minds.
The principal will benefit as there will be added human resource in the schools. There will be an increase in the number of teachers that can be employed in the educational sector if I am able to successfully complete my Research and graduate from college.

Operational Definitions of Terms
Effects; This is a change which occurs as a result or consequences of an action or other cause.
Differentiated Instruction: In this research this is the structuring instructions to cater to the various learning styles and abilities. Instructions to meet individual needs.
Academic Performance: This is arrived at by the scores attained by the sample on all assessment forms related to the research.
Grade 10 students; The students who are in their final year of secondary education and are preparing for CXC by doing school-based assessments. The age group they fall in would vary between the ages of 15-20.
Principles of Business: Principles of Business focuses on the theoretical and practical aspects of business activities. It provides a framework to assist in more informed decision-making by individuals in their role of producers or consumers.
Learning Styles: This refers to the different ways that students learn. Learning style is determined in part by a person’s sensory preferences and is also influenced by a person’s environmental preferences.

Chapter 2
Literature Review
Introduction
This chapter gives you a clear perception of the review of research and literature as it relates to Differentiated Instruction and the improvement of student’s academic performance. Considerations have been taken into theoretical prospects of theorist who have also shared this view and how it is applicable in the classroom today. It will also speak towards the relevance of this study to the subject area of concentration and how this approach may be beneficial or non-beneficial to the teaching practitioner.

What is Differentiated Instruction
Differentiating instruction by learning style is a solution to meeting the needs of a broad spectrum of students and to ensuring that all students achieve the standards of district and state, which is one of the biggest challenges for teacher (Heacox, 2002; Levy, 2008). (Dunn, Beaundry, and Klavis, 2002) promoted differentiating by learning styles when they stated,” when permitted to learn difficult academic information or skills through their identified preferences, children tend to achieve statistically higher on test and attitude scores than when instruction is dissonant with their preferences” (p. 88).

Reason for implementing Differentiated Instruction in the classroom
Research has demonstrated that the textbooks students use in high schools are written at or above grade level and are difficult grade level and are difficult for many students to comprehend (Beck et al, 1997; Beck ; McKeown, 1991; Freeman ; Person, 1998). However, many content area teachers assume that their students can read and understand them without assistance, Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Not all students entering middle school or high school have the reading proficiency needed to tackle reading and learning from assigned textbook chapters. In fact, according to Reading Next: A Vision for Action and Research in Middle and High Literacy (Snow ; Biancarosa, 2004), “a full 70 percent of U.S. middle and high school students require differentiated instruction, which is instruction targeted to their individual strengths and weaknesses”.

Effects of Differentiated Instruction in the Classroom
Differentiated instruction is student focused rather than teacher focused (Aaronsohn, 2003; Benjamin, 2006; Lawrence-Brown, 2004; Tomlinson, 2001). The readiness of the learner is important to consider when implementing this philosophy. (Benjamin,2002) stated that differentiated instruction benefits students because it is a “constructivist practice” (p 31). (Heacox, 2002) explained that the goal of differentiated instruction is to “enhance learning for all students by engaging them in activities that better respond to their particular needs, strengths, and preferences” (p. 1). Students benefit from differentiated instruction because they are given choices and take ownership in their learning (Benjamin, 2002; Boaler, 2008).
(Johnson, 2013) states that differentiated instruction has the potential of closing the academic achievement gap and influencing social change in the educational system by moving from traditional instructions to modern strategies. Studies conducted had shown that differentiated instruction has formed an impact on students’ academic performance.

Theoretical Frame Work of Differentiated Instruction
The idea of differentiating instruction to accommodate the different ways the students learn involves a hefty dose of common sense, as well as sturdy support in the theory and research of education (Tomlinson & Allan, 2000). It is an approach to teaching that advocates active planning for student differences in classrooms. “Our contemporary classrooms are becoming more and more diverse and this model proposes a rethinking of the structure, management and the process, to the benefit of all” (Shannon, 2006). In commencing discussions on this issue, it is prudent to point out that every learner benefit from an engaging learning experience, every learner deserves to be treated with respect and every learner should be given an opportunity to reach his/her potential (Guild, 2001).
This research study is aligned with the fundamental ideas of constructivism. (Benjamin, 2002) believed that “the pedagogical theory that guides differentiation is constructivism: the belief that learning happens when the learner makes meaning out of information.” Because the students worked through the content in groups for this study, this style of instruction more closely modeled social constructivism, rather than Piaget’s cognitive constructivist model. As cited by (Powell and Kalina, 2010), “Lee Vygotsky, the founding father of social constructivism, believed in social interaction and that it was an integral par of learning” (p. 243) and “according to Vygotsky… cooperative learning is a part of creating a social constructivist classroom” (p. 244).
Lee Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist, proved that individuals learns best in accordance with their readiness to do so (Allan ; Tomlinson, 2008). This theoretical influence provides a concrete foundation for differentiated instruction. The readiness of the individual should match what a student learns, how they learn it and how the student demonstrates what they learned when using differentiated instruction.

Conclusion
In conclusion, differentiated instruction should be used by all classroom teachers to vigorously attempt to meet the students where they are in the learning process and move them along as fast and as far as possible in the context of a mixed-ability classroom (Tomlinson,2000). Teachers must use assessment data to help guide their instruction to meet the needs of all learners. When all teachers embrace this important work, our students will reap the benefits and rewards through changed attitudes, increased student learning and achievement.

Chapter 3
Methodology
Introduction
This investigation will be in the form of an action research. This type of research is suitable because it is the type of research that is used by teachers to find possible answers to issues identified in classrooms. The purpose of this research is to address the issue as to whether an approach using differentiated instruction in a grade ten Principles of Business class will improve student’s academic performance. This chapter entails research design, population, sample, method of data collection and administrative procedures.

Research Design
The researcher will implement the action research design as it is believed to be more efficient when conducting an educational research which entails a problem in the classroom that needs to be addressed. According to (Creswell, 2012) Practical Action Research to help teachers to make their classrooms so that they can improve their students learning and their own professional performance.

Population
The school’s population consists of seven hundred and six students including forty members of staff. There are four hundred and six boys and three hundred girls. The school’s population regarding grade level is broken down as follows: seven grades 7 – 135 students; eight grades – 130 students; nine grades – 135 students; ten grades – 130 students; eleven grades – 140 students and sixth form – 36 students. There is a diversity among the student population with regards to learning styles and socio-economic background.

Sample
The participants to be used in this research include fifteen grades 10 students who I have facilitated in the teaching of Principles of Business during the 2016-2017 academic year. They have a significant range in abilities. Five students were identified as visual, six as auditory and four as kinesthetic learners. Regarding gender; there were five boys and ten girls. This group was given to the researcher. Therefore, the researcher will employ convenience sampling. According to Defour-Howard (2000) “convenience sampling involves the selection of respondents on the basis of availability”.

Method of Data Collection (Instrumentation)
Triangulation
There were numerous qualitative and quantitative techniques that were used in this research to collect data. Triangulation comprises of the use of several method or data sources to create an understanding of information ascertained from the use of this data collection method.
Description and Validation of Instruments
The first instrument used that was a Principle of Business attitude questionnaire with six closed ended items (see appendix E). The responses to the items are as follows: strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree.
The second instrument that was used is a pre-test (See Appendix C). The test comprised of 10 multiple choice, 4 short answer questions and one essay question. This test was done so that the researcher will ascertain the level of performances before the intervention.
The third instrument to be used will be a pre and post observation checklist as a note taking guide (see appendix D). The note-taking guide will be used when observing the groups to decide how each group is responding to the task on a scale of 4- strongly agree down to 1- strongly disagree. There is also space provided to record actual quotes and specific behavior observed.
The fourth instrument that was used was a post-test (See Appendix C). The test comprised of 10 multiple choice, 4 short answer questions and one essay question. This test was done so that the researcher will ascertain the level of performances after the intervention.
The fifth instruments to be used will be a learning style questionnaire the learning style survey instrument comprises seven items 3 partially closed and 4 fully closed (See Appendix F).

Table 1: Triangulation matrix showing the data sources used to answer the entire research question
Research Questions Data Source #1 Data Source #2 Data Source#3
How effective is differentiated instruction on grade ten students’ academic performance. Pre-Test Post-Test _______
What are the students’ reactions towards the use of differentiated instruction in the classroom? Pre- Observation checklist

Post- Observation checklist Attitude Scale/Questionnaire
Learning Style Questionnaire

Administrative/ Data Collection Procedures
Week 1 The teacher sought permission from the principal and cooperating teachers of the school. Before any formal training had occurred, the students were given a Principles of Business attitude questionnaire which was to test their perception of the subject. They were also given a pre-test under exam conditions which was geared towards discovering students intellectual level regarding Principles of Business. This week was used to get to formally know the students and to observe the student’s varying learning styles and preferences as well as their level of knowledge about the subject.
Week 2. The researcher continued to observe the students keenly and made notations about behaviours that were observed before students had started to be placed in groups according to their learning style.
Week 3. The students were given a learning style questionnaire. After which, the students were put in groups based on their learning styles, interest, capability and given different tasks to complete. The researcher was able to monitor each student as he addressed discrepancies that was faced by each student from the various groups that were established.
Week 4. Students were given feedback on what they did regarding the pre- test and the researcher continued to make keen observations about the students. The use of the differentiated instruction method was still being enforced by the researcher and relevant notations were being made about the students’ reactions to the method.
Week 6. It was during this week that the researcher gave the students the post test to complete. It was given under exam conditions and the researcher made note of the results. The students were still being observed by the researcher as to analyze the effect the use of differentiated instruction had on the students.
Week 7. The researcher had given the student’s feedback on the post test that they had completed, and the researcher was still observing student’s reactions and productivity level as the intervention had been implemented.
Week 8. The students were given the opportunity to compare both their pre-test and post test scores so that they could see their level of growth during the period. The participants were also thanked for their support and cooperation during the period.

Data Analysis
After the data was collected, they were analyzed and then organized by research questions. To analyze the qualitative data, a thematic analysis was used for coding themes such as relationships, activities, ways of thinking, and participants’ perspectives. The test grades were analyzed to determine student learning outcomes. The quantitative data analysis includes the use of mean and standard deviation.

Ethical Considerations
The researcher will ensure that confidentiality is emphasized from the onset of the investigation. To ensure confidentiality, participants will not be identified in the study by their names and will instead be referred to by number. The researcher will not allow any other person to see the names of the students who participated, or their names on the students work samples. The researcher will destroy the data after the study is completed.

Chapter 4

Data Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation
The aim of this chapter is to present data garnered from the eight weeks of data collection. The intervention was carried out on a ten grade Principles of Business class to determine the impact of differentiated instruction. The researcher utilized the following methods to capture quantitative data for the research pre-test, post test, and for qualitative date the following methods were used principles of business learning attitude scale, observation schedule and a learning style questionnaire.
The researcher sought to answer two questions that were set out to be answered by this research. Data was collected before, after and during the implementation of the intervention and the Triangulation Matrix (Table 1 above) give an oversight of the various tools which were used to answer the individual research questions.
The following questions were used to guide the research process:
Research Question 1
How effective is differentiated instruction on grade ten (10) students’ academic performance
The data that was gathered from this question was quantitative in nature and included the use of a pre-test and post test. The pre-test was administered before the use of the intervention and the post test was administered after the use of the intervention in the sixth week of the research process which is the same as the post test. The results are shown in Table 2 below.

Table 2: Table showing the results of the pre-test and post test.
PARTICIPANTS PRE-TEST POST TEST
D1 40 71

D2 33 67
D3 30 93
D4 20 59
D5 50 80
D6 43 73
D7 58 90
D8 44 77
D9 38 69
D10 54 83
D11 46 79
D12 49 86
D13 56 84
D14 44 82
D15 37 77

Table 2.1: Table Showing the results from the Pre-Test and Post-Test Using Descriptive Statistics
DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS

N Mode
Mean
Standard Deviation
PRE-TEST 15 44 42.8 10.276186062932
POST-TEST 15 77 78 9.0790181973918

Analysis and Interpretation
Students D1 attained a thirty one (31) percent increase, student D2 attained a thirty four (34) percent increase, student D3 attained a sixty three (63) percent increase, student D4 attained a thirty nine (39) percent increase, both student D5 and D6 attained a thirty (30) percent increase, student D7 attained a thirty two (32) percent increase, student D8 attained a thirty seven (37) percent increase, student D9 attained a thirty one (31) percent increase, student D10 attained a twenty nine (29) percent increase, student D11 attained a thirty three (33) percent increase, student D12 attained a thirty seven (37) percent increase, student D13 attained a twenty eight (28) percent increase, while student D14 attained a thirty eight (38) percent increase and student D15 attained a forty (40) percent increase. From table 2. It is evident that the difference between the pretest and post test mean score is 42.8 and 78 respectively.
Initially before the use of the Differentiated Instruction intervention most of the scores (from the pre-test) were of a failing grade with the pass mark being fifty (50) percent. After the use of the intervention it can been seen that the (73%) percent failure (from the pre-test) had turned around to (100%) pass (from the post-test). This demonstrates to the researcher that the intervention had a positive impact on the student’s academic performance in Principles of Business. This shows that the results garnered from the researcher’s study is credible.
Academic improvement of students by differentiated teaching is also supported by (McAdamis, 2001) research, where students with low academic outcomes showed an important improvement after differentiation of teaching. The results of the pretest and post test are in line with this line of theory. This helps to validate the claim even more that differentiated instruction does improve students’ academic performance after it had been implemented.

Research Question 2
What are the students’ reactions towards the use of differentiated instruction in the classroom?

Data was extracted from the Observation schedule, the attitude scale/ and the learning style questionnaire to answer the research question. The purpose of this question is to discover students view on the use of differentiated instruction intervention. The researcher observed the students during the observation period as he had done a pre-observation and a post observation. The results of the observation are represented in the form of a bar graph as shown in Figure A below.

Analysis and Interpretation
As shown in Figure A. there were different categories listed under the pre and post observation. It seeked to find out the student’s behavior towards learning Principles of Business by addressing the following criteria: students were engaged in the task, groups worked cooperatively, students worked without much assistance from the teacher, students were punctual for class and students attended class regularly.
It can be said that after careful observation of the students that they possess a good concept of the Differentiated Instruction intervention in Principles of Business. It was also evident that the student level of thinking and ideology of the concept as after the use of the intervention students were more engaged in tasks given, they worked better in groups, and were also better able to work independently, as well as students were punctual for class and attended class regularly. It was (Tomlinson, 1999) that said, “the learning product is of paramount importance because varied demonstrations of learning allow the teacher to determine the students who have mastered the material and those who may need more time and continued instruction,” thus upon the use of the intervention students feel as if they are being catered to and their individual needs are being addressed in the classroom. Differentiating instruction will also create an atmosphere that is more conducive to each learner specific needs and in turn will also boost their interest level as their specific needs are being addressed in a way that best suits them. Thus, allowing students to better improve on their-selves and continue to improve their self-confidence, skills and level of competence in the classroom setting.

Instrument: Principles of Business Learning Attitude Scale/ Questionnaire
Table 3:
Table showing student attitude towards Principles of Business
ITEM QUESTION STUDENTS RESPONSES (AGGREGATE)
Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree
(1) I am confident in my ability to learn Principles of Business 2 8 4 1
(2) I am confident in my ability to use Principles of Business content outside of the classroom 4 10 1 0
(3) I enjoy learning Principles of Business when it is liked everyday living 12 3 0 0
(4) When I am learning Principles of Business content, I prefer to work in a group. 5 7 2 1
(5) Learning Principles of Business content is an important part of general education. 6 6 3 0
(6) I think there is more than one way to learn Principles of Business concept. 4 8 1 2

Analysis and Interpretation
Based on Table 3 above it can be said that said that the intervention had a positive influence on the students. In the first question results showed that 8 students agreed, 2 strongly agreed, 4 disagreed and 1 strongly disagree to the fact the they are confident in their ability to learn Principles of Business as the Differentiated Instruction approach seeked to address students individual learning styles and preferences. Based on theory learning within the inclusive classroom is further in?uenced by a student’s gender, culture, experiences, aptitudes, interests and teaching approaches (Guild, 2001; Stronge, 2004; Tomlinson, 2002, 2004).
The report also showed in the second question that 10 students agreed, 4 strongly agreed and 1 student disagreed to the claim that they feel confident in their use of Principles of Business Content outside the classroom and this in turn caused for students to strongly agree with the third question as 3 students agreed, and 12 students strongly agreed said they enjoy learning Principles of Business content when it is liked to everyday living.
When it came to the question of working in groups there was a mixed reaction among students as 7 said that they agreed, 5 strongly agreed, 2 disagreed and 1 disagreed which may have resulted from the fact that as humans we all may not view ideas and concepts the same so at times there may be differences in opinion. Most children accept that in a classroom they are not alike, that while some possess strengths in sport, others may be academically strong (Tomlinson, 2000).
Regarding the importance of Principles of Business being an important part of general education majority either agreed or agreed strongly that it is with the result showing 6 and 6 respectively, and 3 students disagreed. For the final question of the attitude scale most students agreed to there being more than one way to learn Principles of Business, 4 strongly agree, 1 disagreed and 2 students strongly disagreed.
While it is accepted that the common basis for them all is a need for acceptance, nurturing and respect (Tomlinson, 2004), attending to differences, assists each student in experiencing a degree of triumph while encouraging them to be all that they can be as individuals. It is necessary to consider the vast differences among students in a classroom, acknowledging each student’s strengths while accommodating their limitations.

Table 4:
Table showing students learning style regarding Principles of Business
ITEM QUESTION STUDENTS RESPONSES (AGGREGATE)
Better Worse Same Yes No
(1) After participating in your learning style group, do you feel you are better at Principles of Business, a worse student, or about the same kind of student you were before working in the learning style group? 10 1 4 _____ _____
(2) Has participating in the learning style group changed the way you feel about Principles of Business in school? _____ _____ ______ 13 2
(3) Has participating in the learning style group changed the way you feel about Principles of Business and everyday living? _____ _____ _____ 12 3

Analysis and Interpretation
The learning style questionnaire was scrutinized using the above table 4 in which the quantitative data was represented from questions 1-3 as outlined by the questionnaire. Those questions are: After participating in your learning style group, do you feel you are better at Principles of Business, a worse student, or about the same kind of student you were before working in the learning style group? 10 students responded that they are better, 1 student reported that they were worse, and 4 students reported that they were the same. This says to the researcher that the intervention has a positive impact on most students. The second question was Has participating in the learning style group changed the way you feel about Principles of Business in school? 13 students had a positive response to the question (yes) and 2 students had a negative response to the question (no). This also is a clear indictor to the researcher that the intervention is having a good influence on the students as having interacted with Differentiated Instruction has given them a different perception of Principles of Business. The final question was Has participating in the learning style group changed the way you feel about Principles of Business and everyday living? 12 students responded yes, and 3 students responded no. This says to the researcher that through the intervention students can now see where Principles of Business may be beneficial in their everyday life.
It was also scrutinized using Figure B which seeked to represent the qualitative data from questions 4-6 and the section that was included in question 2 as to the answer “If yes, how has it changed the way you feel about Principles of Business in school?” Regarding students feeling towards Principles of Business content after the intervention 13 students responded I can relate the content to real-life situations and 2 responded that they are able to complete their tasks easier. Regarding helpful activities that are geared towards learning style 4 students responded that they were placed in a learning style group, 2 said responded the use of drawing and written materials. While for ways to improve activities geared towards learning style 10 students wrote activities could be less lengthy. As it relates to general comment about grouping by learning style 2 students responded that it was enjoyable, 4 responded it took some time getting used to, 5 responded that I understood the content better and 4 students responded that they were more participative during group discussions. All this data would mean that the Differentiated Instruction approach was a suitable approach for the classroom. Other researcher has found that using this intervention has led to positive results across a group of selected students especially after targeting small more concentrated group of students (McQuarrie, McRae ; Stack-Cutter, 2008).

Chapter 5
Summary, conclusion and recommendations
Introduction
This chapter is the final chapter of this research paper which is geared towards making final conclusions, establishing relevant suggestions as well as making recommendations for future purposes as the chapter gives an overall summary of the entire piece. It includes the summary, conclusions and recommendations.

Summary
The topic for the research is the effects of Differentiated Instruction on the Academic Performance of Grade Ten Business Students in a selected High School in St. Elizabeth and the research questions that this study has answered are: 1) How effective is differentiated instruction on grade ten students’ academic performance and 2) What are students’ reactions towards the use of differentiated instruction in the classroom? To address these questions, the researcher had to get involved in the issuing of pre-test, post test, observed the students before and after the intervention, issue a Principles of Business attitude scale and issue a learning style questionnaire to students to get the relevant data necessary.
Many concepts and ideas were explored and discovered within the context of carrying out this action research regarding the intervention using Differentiated Instruction to improve students’ academic performance. This research proved that the intervention had a positive impact on the student academic performance as the pre-test and post test has shown. The mean of the pre-test scores 42.8 is while the mean of the post test scores is 78. The mode of the pre-test scores is 44 while the mode of the post test scores is 77. The standard deviation for the pre-test scores is 10.276186062932 while the standard deviation for the post test scores is 9.0790181973918.
To allude to the point that the research had a positive influence on the students who were apart of the study. Students upon observation made vast improvements as after the use of the intervention as students were more engaged in tasks given, they worked better in groups, and were also better able to work independently, as well as students were punctual for class and attended class regularly. Based on findings students were comfortable with the Differentiated Instruction intervention and enjoyed participating in learning style groups that were geared towards grouping students with similar learning styles/preferences. Students have improved regarding their performance and behavior towards the Principles of Business greatly from when they had just started to be engaged in the subject.

Conclusions
This study has provided results that have proven that the Differentiated Instruction intervention can positively influence/empower students academic performance in the subject Principles of Business. With the use of various tools and methods the question of whether Differentiated Instruction can improve academic performance in a ten grade Principles of Business class has proved to be a reputable claim that has supporting evidence as students after being engaged in the use of the intervention have improved greatly.
The use of the strategy has also provided a means by which the students individual needs and situations are dealt with in a manner that best applies to them not as a whole, but as an individual of a learning style/preference. It changes not only the intellectual capacity of learners, but it also changes their attitude and view of the subject as they can see it from a more practical sense that they can relate to. This will be of great benefit in the use and development of various methodologies that will be used to teach students in this present modern-day context.
The intervention has been tested, tried and has generated positive results. Thus, teachers should now be able to see the need/importance of ensuring that all lesson incorporate Differentiated Instruction and that they plan their lessons in such a way that it caters for each individual learner need. Thus, it would be wise to continue to implement this strategy in the classroom to improve both behavior and academics whilst teaching the subject Principles of Business.

Recommendations
From the successful completion of this study the following recommendations are made by the researcher:
The researcher recommends that teacher who teach Principles of Business use the Differentiated Instruction always while teaching. They should also find ways and means to incorporate each type of learner in the lesson and with the availability of technological devices such as e-labs, tablets, phones and other teaching aids such as newspapers, journals lessons should be planned to cater to the learning needs of the students. There must be a passion to use the approach and the researcher suggest that each teacher should have a personal philosophy or motto which they live by and give them that intrinsically motivation to see to it that the students are the priority always as we are facilitators of knowledge and not givers of knowledge.
The researcher recommends to the Ministry of Education (M.O.E) that there be regular workshops and seminars geared towards re-educating teachers on the need for Differentiating Instruction to cater for the needs of their students. And they could also use statistics to show the level of improvement in terms of academics and behavior when the intervention is use thus helping to improve class control and performance of students. This should be done for the parents as there can be brochures that can be created and included in the student’s package upon entering the school thus enlightening them on the importance of Differentiated Instruction.
The researcher recommends to the principal that he can lobby on the behalf of the school to receive necessary equipment and materials and ensure that materials currently in the school’s possession are up to standard. For e.g. e-learning lab facilities and additional funding can also be seeked to sponsor this initiative from the government or private entities affiliated with the school such as past students’ associations.

References

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Appendices
Letter requesting permission from cooperating school (Appendix A)

Title: an investigation into the effects of differentiated instruction by learning styles on the academic performance of a set of mixed ability grade ten Principles of Business students in a High School in St. Elizabeth.
Permission Letter
REQUEST FOR PERMISSION TO CONDUCT RESEARCH AT YOUR SCHOOL
Dear Mr. Fearon,
I am Densil Irving and I am a Business Studies student at the Bethlehem Moravian College in Malvern St. Elizabeth. I am hereby seeking your consent to approach the school to provide participant for this project. I will provide you with a copy of my proposal which includes copies of the measure and consent forms to be used in the research process. Upon completion of the study, I undertake to provide you with a bound copy of the full research report. If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me on cell: +1(876)587-7411 or email: [email protected] Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

_________________________
Yours sincerely,
Densil Irving
Bethlehem Moravian College
Consent Form (Appendix B)
Title: an investigation into the effects of differentiation instruction by learning styles on the academic performance of a set of mixed ability grade ten Principles of Business students in a High School in St. Elizabeth.
Dear Parent/Guardian
The following information is provided to help you decide whether you wish to allow your child/children to participate in the study. You are free to decide not to allow your child to participate or to withdraw at any time. Do not hesitate to ask questions about the study before allowing your child/children to participate. The findings of this research will be shared with you as well as the school administration. Your name and child’s/children’s name will not be associated with the research findings in any way since he/she is not required to write his/her name. There are no known risks and/or discomforts associated with this study. You are signing this form with full knowledge of the nature and purpose of the procedures. A copy of this form will be given to you to keep.

Parent’s signature _________________________________ Date _____________________
Participant’s signature ______________________________ Date _____________________

Appendix C
Pre and Post Test

School: Black River High School
Subject: Principles of Business
Unit: The Nature of Business
Grade: 10 TV2
Duration: 1 Hour
Date: September 28, 2017
Teacher: Densil Irving

Name of Student: __________________________

SECTION A
_____________Instruction: Students are required to answer ALL questions_____________
Complete the following questions by circling the most appropriate answer.
1. Which of the following statements about co-operative business organizations is true?
(a) All co-operatives are only concerned with retailing.
(b) Profits are shared equally amongst members.
(c) They are owned by shareholders.
(d) Workers have no say in decision-making.

2. One of the claimed advantages of a Sole Trader business is that
(a) Owners have limited liability
(a) Shares can be sold to raise capital
(b) Decisions and responsibilities can be shared
(c) The owner has independence

3. One of the advantages of a partnership form of business organization is that
(a)The business survives the death of a partner
(b) All decisions are bound to decisions by one of the partners
(c) Profits are shared
(d) The business has access to more capital than a Sole Trader

4. Which of the following is NOT a feature of a Private Limited Company?
(a)Shares can be issued to raise capital
(b)Share can be bought and sold on the stock exchange
(c)All owners of the business have limited liability
(d) The business continues after the death of a shareholder

5. Which of the following statements best applies to a Public Limited Company?
(a)It is owned by shareholders who can sell their shares in the Stock Exchange
(b)It is owned by the government and is in the public sector
(c)It is quick and easy to set up with few legal formalities
(d) Its accounts can be kept private and it receives little coverage in the business

6. One of the advantages to a business of selling a franchise is that?
(a)The business can expand more quickly
(b)The franchisor owns all the store
(c)The business buying the franchise is certain to be successful
(d) The products sold in each store will be different

7. One of the reasons for a business buying a franchise is because?
(a)It is always much cheaper than setting up a new business venture
(b)There is complete control over important decisions
(c) The business can use its name in advertisements
(d) The risks of failure are lower as it is buying a well-known business idea

8. One of the disadvantages of a Sole Trader business is that?
(a)Capital is limited to owner’s savings and bank loans
(b)Decisions take too long to make
(c)As they are government owned there is no profit motive
(d) the owners may disagree

9. Which of the following is an advantage of a Private limited company?
(a)Limited to 50 shareholders
(b)There is continuity in the event of the death of a shareholder
(c) Capital is hard to gain as the owner must take money out of his personal savings
(d) It is difficult for shareholders to sell shares

10. Which of the following is a disadvantage of a Private limited company?
(a) Shareholders have limited liability
(b)There is continuity in the event of death of a shareholder
(c) Capital cannot be raised by sale of shares to the general public
(d) The company can sell shares to family, friends and employees

20 Marks

Section B
Short Answer Questions

1. Define the term stakeholder. (5 marks)
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.

1. State the names of four (4) types of cooperatives. (10 marks)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.
2. Differentiate between a Partnership and a Sole Trader business organization. (15 marks)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.

3. Using the table provided below outline one (4) advantage and disadvantage of a Public Limited Company (20 marks)

Section C

Fill in the blanks using the most appropriate responses from the items given.

Sole Trader, Partnership, Co-operative, Public Limited Company, Private Limited Company, Franchises
A _______________________ is not strictly a form of legal structure for a business, but it is a legal contract between two firms. A _______________________ is a business that is jointly operated by individuals. _______________________are organizations formed by groups with similar objectives and/or interests. A _______________________ can be recognized using ‘plc’ or ‘inc’ after the business name. A business that is owned and operated by one person is known as a _______________________ business. The word ‘limited’ or ‘Ltd’ tells us that the business is a _______________________.
30 Marks

Appendix D

Title: an investigation into the effects of differentiated instruction by learning styles on the academic performance of a set of mixed ability grade ten Principles of Business students in a High School in St. Elizabeth.

(Pre and post) Observation Schedule Date:
Codes: 4 – strongly agree, 3 – agree, 2 – disagree, 1 – strongly disagree
Students Views on the use of the Differentiated Instruction Intervention
Activity Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree
1. Students were engaged in the task
2.Groups worked cooperatively
Students worked without much assistance from the teacher
3.Students responded positively to the task
4.Students were punctual for class
5.Students attended classes regularly

Appendix E

Title: an investigation into the effects of differentiated instruction by learning styles on the academic performance of a set of mixed ability grade ten Principles of Business students in a High School in St. Elizabeth.

Students Principles of Business Learning Attitude Scales/ Questionnaire

Students, please complete this attitude scale by circling/ underlining the options that is most applicable. You will complete the survey again at the end of the investigation. It is important that you are honest in your responses.

1. I am confident in my ability to learn Principles of Business.
Strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree

2. I am confident in my ability to use Principles of Business content outside of the classroom.
Strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree

3. I enjoy learning Principles of Business when it is liked everyday living.
Strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree

4. When I am learning Principles of Business content, I prefer to work in a group.
Strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree

5. Learning Principles of Business content is an important part of general education.
Strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree

6. I think that there is more than one way to learn Principles of Business concept.
Strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree

Appendix F

Title: An investigation into the effects of differentiated instruction by learning styles on the academic performance of a set of mixed ability grade ten Principles of Business students in a High School in St. Elizabeth.
Learning Style Questionnaire

Students, please complete this survey on learning styles. Answer each question and provide as much information as you can on the open- ended questions. It is important to be honest in your answers because the information will be used to assist the researcher in planning for future Principles of Business lessons.

1. After participating in your learning style group, do you feel you are better at Principles of Business, a worse student, or about the same kind of student you were before working in the learning style group? (circle one) Better Worse Same

2. Has participating in the learning style group changed the way you feel about Principles of Business in school? (circle one) Yes No
If yes, how has it changed the way you feel about Principles of Business in school? __________
______________________________________________________________________________

3. Has participating in the learning style group changed the way you feel about Principles of Business and everyday living? (circle one) Yes No

4. What activities geared towards your learning style have been the most helpful to you?

5. How can we improve the activities that were geared toward your learning style?

6. Is there anything else you would like to say about grouping by learning style? If so, please write your comments here.

Adapted from (p.103): Hendricks, C., (2009). Improving schools through action research. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.