Effective Differentiated Instructional Elements for Improving Student Performance as Perceived by Secondary Principals in Exemplary Public High Schools in Texas: A Delphi Study



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The primary purpose of this Delphi study was to determine which of the research-identified differentiated instructional elements are the most effective for improving student performance as perceived by secondary principals in 2A to 5A 2009 ?Exemplary? public high schools in Texas. A secondary purpose for this study was to determine what additional differentiated instructional elements are perceived by this study?s targeted principals as being critical for student success. The researcher obtained feedback during three Delphi survey rounds from the twenty-four member expert panel regarding which of the research-identified differentiated instructional elements they perceived to be the most effective for improving student performance. The differentiated instructional elements presented in the survey were based upon a sound theoretical framework resulting from a review of existing research on differentiated instruction. After Round Three, consensus was reached, and the data collection period ended. Each of the surveys for the study, as well as the statistical analysis, can be found in the appendices of this dissertation. The findings of this study determined that using a variety of resources, as well as a variety of strategies, were the top-ranked research-identified differentiated instructional elements that the expert panel perceived to be the most effective for improving student performance. In addition, panelists agreed that the differentiated instructional elements already identified in existing research, as presented in this study, are comprehensive and sufficient for improving student performance. Without a doubt, the conclusions and recommendations of this study could extend the current knowledge base by promoting the use of the most effective research-identified differentiated instructional elements to improve student performance. Furthermore, the implications of the study will be invaluable for ongoing professional development, principal and teacher preparation programs, and for those in the field seeking to improve their daily educational practices for student impact.