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Evaluation of the Differentiated Instruction Approach for an Electrical Engineering Circuit Analysis Module

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Improvements in ECE Circuit Analysis

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Craig A. Chin Kennesaw State University

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Craig A. Chin received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Florida International University in 2006. He is currently an Associate Professor in the electrical engineering department at Kennesaw State University. His research interests include biomedical signal processing, machine learning, and differentiated instruction techniques applied to engineering education.

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Roneisha Wynette Worthy Kennesaw State University

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Roneisha W. Worthy, PhD, is an assistant professor in civil engineering at Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Kennesaw State University. Her research interests include increasing the participation of minorities, women and other underrepresented groups in engineering. Dr. Worthy focuses much of her research efforts in the area of community engagement and STEM pipeline development. She works to connect P-12 educators and students with STEM professors, students and departments at KSU.

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Donna Colebeck Kennesaw State University

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Donna Colebeck is a Senior Lecturer of Foundation Studies and Studio Art in the School of Art and Design, College of the Arts at Kennesaw State University. She has s Master of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology. Research interests include experiential and other modes of learning, instructional practices and application/implementation from an interdisciplinary perspective.

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Differentiated instruction (DI) is a teaching approach in which learning experiences are designed and adapted to meet students’ individual and diverse needs in order to facilitate student success. This approach has been advocated in K-12 classes, but has not been used extensively in college courses and STEM/Engineering courses in particular. When one considers that significant student diversity still exists beyond high school graduation, a strong argument can be made for the benefit of implementing DI strategies in a college course environment. This paper presents the findings of an initial implementation of DI for a module of a circuit analysis course. This implementation involved diversifying course content and the learning process based on formative assessments of student readiness. The effectiveness of this approach was evaluated using a student survey and test scores. The student survey indicates that the majority of students had a positive assessment of their learning experience using the DI approach. The test results of the DI group were compared to the test results of a non-DI group using an independent samples t-test. T-test results did not indicate a statistical improvement in test results for the treatment group over the control group. The instructor evaluation of DI is that it has the potential to improve student performance based on the more individualized nature of the teaching approach, but a potential impediment to the successful implementation of this approach is the data acquisition and analysis tasks associated with formative assessment, which may become prohibitively burdensome with large class sizes and few contact hours. One way to overcome this impediment is to devise ways to provide feedback on a larger scale than on an individual basis and devise methods to automate the differentiation process.

Chin, C. A., & Worthy, R. W., & Colebeck, D. (2019, June), Evaluation of the Differentiated Instruction Approach for an Electrical Engineering Circuit Analysis Module Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32767

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