Integrating differentiated instruction to improve STEM students’ mathematical engagement and academic performance
Alvin Odon Insorio 1 2 *
More Detail
1 College of Advanced Studies-Philippine Normal University, Philippines
2 San Pedro College of Business Administration, Philippines
* Corresponding Author


STEM students lose engagement and show poor academic performance if student diversity is not appropriately addressed in curriculum delivery. So, differentiation must be included in lesson planning. This study integrated differentiated instruction in STEM classes to improve student mathematical engagement and academic performance in Grade 11 Statistics and Probability. The study utilized practical action research inspired by the Plan-Do-Study-Act model with 100 participants with diverse learning preferences and interests. Differentiated instruction strategies in mathematics education, such as technological tool integration, previous knowledge assessment, parallel tasks, and open questions, were implemented in two STEM sections. Before implementing differentiated instruction, there was student profiling, a pre-test, and a pre-survey. After ten weeks of consistent DI integration, post-tests, post-surveys, and interviews were conducted to elicit data. The results showed that differentiated instruction improved the student mathematical engagement behaviorally, cognitively, emotionally, and socially. Hence, they performed better academically since the pre-test and post-test scores established the statistical difference. Differentiated instruction strategies successfully improved the student's academic performance on the examination. Also, students gained confidence in dealing with mathematical problems integrated into real-life situations.



  • Abdul Al-Bar, A. (2018). The effectiveness of differentiated education in the development of immediate and deferred achievement and skills to solve the mathematical problem among slowly-learning students at the primary level. Journal of Educational Mathematics, 12(21), 6-55.
  • Afurobi A. O., Izuagba A. C, Ifegbo P. C., & Opara, J. M. (2017). Differentiating instruction in early childhood care education: Teachers’ practice. African Research Review, 11(3), 105–114.
  • Aguhayon, H.G., Tingson, & Pentang, J.T. (2023). addressing students learning gaps in mathematics through differentiated instruction. International Journal of Educational Management and Development Studies, 4(1), 69-87.
  • Am, M. A., Hadi, S., Istiyono, E. & Retnawati, H. (2023). Does differentiated instruction affect learning outcome? Systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Pedagogical Research, 7(5), 18-33.
  • Astaneh, B., & Masoumi, S. (2018). From paper to practice: Indexing systems and ethical standards. Science and Engineering Ethics, 24, 647–654.
  • Awofala, A. O. A., & Lawani, A.O. (2020). Increasing mathematics achievement of senior secondary school students through differentiated instruction. Journal of Educational Sciences, 4(1), 1–19.
  • Azucena, L. J. R., Gacayan, P. J. L., Tabat, M. A. S., Cuanan, K. H., Pentang, J. (2022). GeoGebra intervention: How have students’ performance and confidence in algebra advanced? Studies in Technology and Education, 1(1), 51-61.
  • Bal, A. P. (2023). Assessing the impact of differentiated instruction on mathematics achievement and attitudes of secondary school learners. South African Journal of Education, 43(1), 1- 10.
  • Bear, G.G., Yang, C., Chen, D., He, X., Xie, J.S., & Huang, X. (2018). Differences in school climate and student engagement in China and the United States. School Psychology Quarterly, 33(2), 323-335.
  • Bondie, R., & Dahnke, C. (2019). How Does Changing “One-Size-Fits-All” to Differentiated Instruction Affect Teaching? Review of Research in Education, 43, 336-362.
  • Chen, J. H., & Chen, Y.-C. (2018). Differentiated instruction in a Calculus curriculum for college students in Taiwan. Journal of Education and Learning, 7(1), 88-95.
  • Dack, H. (2018). Structuring teacher candidate learning about differentiated instruction through coursework. Teaching and Teacher Education, 69, 62–74.
  • Dalila, A. A., Rahmah, S., Liliawati, W., & Kaniawati, I. (2022). Effect of differentiated learning in problem-based learning on cognitive learning outcomes of high school students. Jurnal Penelitian Pendidikan IPA, 8(4), 2116–2122.
  • De Jager, T. (2019). Application of biometric fingerprinting to encourage the active involvement of student teachers in lectures on differentiated instruction. South African Journal of Education, 39(S2), 1-10.
  • Department of Education. (2019). Policy guidelines on the K to 12 basic education program. Author.
  • Department of Education. (2016). The learning action cell as a k to 12 basic education program school-based continuing professional development strategy for the improvement of teaching and learning. Author.
  • Febrilia, B., & Nissa, I. (2019). Exploring student mathematical engagement using adapted Watsons’ analytical tool. Jurnal Cakrawala Pendidikan, 38(1), 188-202.
  • Fogarty, J. R., & Pete, M. B. (2017). Supporting differentiated instruction: A professional learning communities approach. Solution Tree Press.
  • Fredricks, J. A., Wang, M. T., Schall Linn, J., Hofkens, T. L., Sung, H., Parr, A., & Allerton, J. (2016). Using qualitative methods to develop a survey measure of math and science engagement. Learning and Instruction, 43, 5-15.
  • Geel, M, Keuning, T., & Safar,I. (2022). How teachers develop skills for implementing differentiated instruction: Helpful and hindering factors. Teaching and Teacher Education: Leadership and Professional Development,1, 100007.
  • Gervasoni, A., Downton, A., & Roche, A. (2021). Differentiating instruction for students who fail to thrive in mathematics: the impact of a constructivist-based intervention approach. Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 23(3), 207-233.
  • Grech, V., & Calleja, N. (2018). WASP (Write a Scientific Paper): Parametric vs. non-parametric tests. Early Human Development, 123, 48-49.
  • Horváth, L., Kokoszka, P., & Wang, S. (2020). Testing normality of data on a multivariate grid. Journal of Multivariate Analysis, 179, 104640.
  • Kiger, M., & Varpio, L. (2020). Thematic analysis of qualitative data: AMEE Guide No. 131. Medical Teacher, 42(8), 846-854.
  • Kohnke, L. (2023). A pedagogical chatbot: A supplemental language learning tool. RELC Journal, 54(3), 828-838.
  • Lavrijsen, J., Dockx, J., Struyf, E., & Verschueren, K. (2021). Class composition, student achievement, and the role of the learning environment. Journal of Educational Psychology, 114(3), 498–512.
  • Maamin, M., Maat, S. M., & Iksan, H. Z. (2022). The influence of student engagement on mathematical achievement among secondary school students. Mathematics 10(41), 1-14.
  • Magableh, I. S. I., & Abdullah, A. (2020). On the effectiveness of differentiated instruction in the enhancement of Jordanian students’ overall achievement. International Journal of Instruction, 13(2), 533-548.
  • Malik, C. (2021). Engagement theory of learning: an overview. SelfCAD.
  • Marks, A., Woolcott, G., & Markopoulos, C. (2021). Differentiating instruction: development of a practice framework for and with secondary mathematics classroom teachers. International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education, 16(3), em0657.
  • Mertler, C. A. (2021). Action research as teacher inquiry: A viable strategy for resolving problems of practice. Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation, 26(19), 1-12.
  • Morallos, C. (2018). Effects of differentiated instruction on achievement goals and performance in mathematics [Unpublished master’s thesis]. Philippine Normal University, Manila.
  • Prast, E. J., Van de Weijer-Bergsma. E., Kroesbergen, E. H., & Van Luit, J. E. H. (2018). Differentiated instruction in primary mathematics: Effects of teacher professional development on student achievement. Learning and Instruction, 54, 22–34.
  • OECD. (2023). PISA 2022 Results (Volume I): The state of learning and equity in education. Author.
  • Onyefulu, C., & Roofe, C. (2019). Characteristics, technology capabilities, and experiences of in-service teachers on the use of online/blended learning at a tertiary institution in Jamaica. Open Access Library Journal, 6, e5147.
  • Özer, S., & Yılmaz, E. (2018). The effect of thinking-style-based differentiated instruction on achievement, attitude, and retention. Kastamonu Education Journal, 26(1), 11-20.
  • Pedler, M., Yeigh, T., & Hudson, S. (2020). The teachers’ role in student engagement: A review. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 45(3), 48-62.
  • Pentang, J. (2021). Impact assessment and clients’ feedback towards MATHEMATICS project implementation. International Journal of Educational Management and Development Studies, 2(2), 90-103.
  • Peters, M. T., Hebbecker, K., & Souvignier, E. (2022). Effects of providing teachers with tools for implementing assessment-based differentiated reading instruction in second grade. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 47(3), 157–169.
  • Pozas, M., Letzel, V., & Schneider, C. (2020). Teachers and differentiated instruction: Exploring differentiation practices to address student diversity. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 20(3), 217-230.
  • Smale-Jacobse, A., Meijer, A., Helms-Lorenz, M., & Maulana, R. (2019). Differentiated instruction in secondary education: A systematic review of research evidence. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 23-66.
  • Sapan, M., & Mede, E. (2022). The effects of differentiated instruction (DI) on achievement, motivation, and autonomy among English learners. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 10(1), 127-144.
  • Sayi, K. A., & Emir, S. (2017). The effects of differentiated foreign language instruction on academic achievement and creativity of gifted students. International Journal of Academic Research, 5(1), 276-288.
  • Smith, M., Bill, V., & Raith, M. L. (2018). Promoting a conceptual understanding of mathematics. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 24(1), 36-43.
  • Stockemer, D. (2019). Quantitative methods for the social sciences: A practical introduction with examples in SPSS and Stata. Springer.
  • Tomlinson, C. A. (2017). How to differentiate instruction in academically diverse classrooms. Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • Valiandes, S., & Neophytou, L. (2018). Teachers’ professional development for differentiated instruction in mixed-ability classrooms: investigating the impact of a development program on teachers’ professional learning and students’ achievement. Teacher Development, 22(1), 123-138.
  • Wang, M. T., & Degol, J. (2014). Staying engaged: Knowledge and research needs in student engagement. Child Development Perspectives, 8(3), 137-143.
  • Wang, M. T., Fredricks, J., Ye, F., Hofkens, T., & Linn, J. S. (2016). The math and science engagement scales: Scale development, validation, and psychometric properties. Learning and Instruction, 43, 16-23.
  • Yavuz, A. C. (2020). The effects of differentiated instruction on Turkish students’ L2 achievement, and student and teacher perceptions. Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 6(2), 313-335.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.