Stephens, Charity Caye (2018-11). The Effects of a Tiered Learning Matrix on Teachers' Perceptions, Pedagogy, and Sense of Efficacy. Doctoral Dissertation.
A teacher's sense of efficacy is his or her willingness to implement pedagogical strategies to reach students at various levels of readiness. A professional learning (PL) series occurs over an extended period of time with a lead facilitator and a cohort of teachers to learn pedagogical strategies to better meet students' learning needs. At the time of this study, the researcher investigated teachers' PL needs at the research site, a suburban public high school, grades nine through 12 in Missouri. The district's PL plan focused on project based learning and Visible Learning. The researcher investigated district PL course offerings to find any gaps in course offerings in alignment to teachers' requested PL needs. Results of these investigations spurred the researcher to develop a PL course focused on a tiered learning matrix (TLM) to support differentiated instruction via tiered learning targets. Learning targets are also known as learning intentions and should drive teacher instruction. The PL course was presented to faculty during a school PL day. Teacher feedback during this PL course was used to refine the TLM and help develop a PL series focused on tiered instruction. The PL series occurred over a 12-week period with a cohort of nine high school teachers from various content areas. The purpose of this mixed methods action research study was to explore the effectiveness of a PL series focused on tiered instruction to support teaching for various levels of student readiness. The researcher was the lead facilitator of the PL session. The researcher codified and categorized qualitative data via field notes, analytic memos, participant artifacts, and transcribed PL sessions and interviews. The data analyses for this study involved inductive process to thoroughly examine the themes and deductive processes over the 12-weeks to reach saturation. The researcher examined changes in teachers' perceptions, pedagogy, and sense of efficacy as a result of their participation in the PL series focused on tiered instruction.