Confidence to Differentiate and Knowledge to Assess: Do these Differ Between Concurrent and Consecutive Teacher Candidates?

Nancy Maynes, Anna-Lisa Mottonen, Glen Sharpe


This paper reports on one aspect of a larger study to examine the relationship between pre-service teachers’ self-reports of their levels of knowledge and confidence in regard to many key areas of professional knowledge and skill.  Using information provided by current and recently graduated concurrent and consecutive bachelor of education students, their confidence in providing differentiated learning opportunities and knowledge of appropriate related assessment practices in the classroom was examined.  Results indicate that the consecutive teacher candidates consistently scored higher, on average, compared to the concurrent education program participants on the measures of knowledge and confidence used in this study, but, when age was discounted, levels of knowledge and confidence were similar. Levels of knowledge and confidence were not overly strong for either participant group regarding uses of assessment. As the ability to provide differentiated learning experiences and supportive assessments in the classroom is a key expectation of professional teachers, this finding is important. This research supports the need for additional strategic instruction for teacher candidates to help them understand the theory related to differentiation, access resources to support and assess their use of differentiation strategies in the classroom, and gain the confidence to use the strategies in day-to-day instruction.

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Journal of Studies in Education ISSN 2162-6952


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