How does the implementation of differentiated vocabulary instruction influence the success of 7th grade students in a middle school science classroom?

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


Learning academic vocabulary can be just as difficult as learning a new language. In order to help students build a strong foundation for science content and literacy in a classroom with mixed abilities and languages, this action research focused on differentiated vocabulary strategies. Students were divided into three groups based on proficiency level in the classroom and English Language Learner status. Four vocabulary strategies were implemented repeatedly during a four-week unit on Evolution. Strategies varied in level of cooperative grouping and modality. Although no increase in average test scores were measured, the strategies utilized did increase student understanding of content vocabulary. It was found that each student group responded differently to each vocabulary strategy. Overall, the majority of students expressed preference for fewer words and concepts, more study time and repetition, addition of illustrations and other visuals, and work in small cooperative groups.




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