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Flexible Grouping Within Elementary Mathematics

Coiner, Karin E (2017) Flexible Grouping Within Elementary Mathematics. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The purpose of this study was to uncover understandings, benefits, and disadvantages to implementing flexible grouping practices in elementary school mathematics instruction. Inquiry questions were used to examine the factors of perceptions, culture, collaboration, and teaching and learning within the implementation of flexible grouping. The results will be used to make decisions on flexible grouping practices and actions regarding teacher instruction and student learning in current and future implementation cycles of flexible grouping. A search for evidence regarding how teachers feel about flexible grouping, and identification of components teachers use when implementing flexible grouping practices was completed.

Action research was used, along with a mixed methods approach and examination of how flexible grouping was impacted by best practices that were identified within the research. Using the premise that action research actively involves the researcher in reflective practice, a study within the principal investigator’s workplace allowed the school to focus on flexible grouping and discover strengths and weaknesses for improving student learning and teacher instruction. Three different methods were utilized to investigate the inquiry questions. One hundred thirty two participants, (a mix of teachers and parents) were studied using surveys, focus groups, and document collection. Focus groups and surveys provided perceptions and attitudes from each population group while gathering a basic understanding of flexible grouping within the context of the school. Surveys provided baseline data about stakeholder understanding and perceptions of flexible grouping. Based on survey responses, focus groups were used for a further examination of study participants. Twenty staff members were surveyed who worked at the research site. One hundred randomly chosen parents from grades two through five were surveyed. Two focus groups were held with staff from the research site, three from grade three and three from grade four. A focus group with four parents of students that were enrolled in the school in grade five was conducted.

Document collection provided additional evidence and insights regarding flexible grouping implementation. Documents examined included: Teacher lesson plans, team meeting notes and agendas, student grouping documents, mathematics grouping calendars, teacher data analysis, state testing results, and local formative and summative testing results.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Coiner, Karin Ekec145@pitt.edukec145
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLongo, R.
Committee MemberKirk,
Committee MemberAmato, Eileen
Date: 24 July 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 31 March 2017
Approval Date: 24 July 2017
Submission Date: 30 May 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 97
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Flexible Grouping Elementary Mathematics Grouping Mathematics Customized Individualized Differentiation Standards Based Professional Learning Communities Data Driven Pre-testing
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2017 17:49
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2017 17:49


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