Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Fall 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


School of Art, Design and Art History


Karin Tollefson-Hall


This study investigates the effects of differentiated instruction on student engagement, student satisfaction, and students’ perceived quality of artwork in the high school art classroom. In order to determine its effectiveness, students were presented a control and test lesson. The control lesson utilized limited differentiation, and students completed similar notes, projects and critiques. The Test Lesson incorporated multiple differentiated practices, including strategic grouping based on learning profile and interest. The test lesson also offered choices for student projects based on interest and readiness, and choices for a critique, based on interest and learning profile. Students completed a self assessment after each lesson and completed a self assessment comparison to gauge their engagement, satisfaction and quality of their drawing between the two units. Data collection included field notes, learning style surveys, exit tickets, self assessments and teacher evaluations.

The results of this study indicated that Differentiated Instruction had a positive effect on the majority of students’ engagement during various components of the lesson. Based on both student self assessments and teacher observations, students experienced the highest levels of engagement during the Test Drawing, where they were able to make choices about how to complete their project. Additionally, many students were very engaged during group work, a component only found in the test lesson. Students also rated themselves as having higher levels of satisfaction with their test lesson, as opposed to the control lesson. However, the quality of student work did not improve with the implementation of differentiated Instruction.

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