Date of Completion

May 2006


The issue of how to respond to the diverse academic needs of students is one of the central challenges of teaching. This project studied how preservice teachers develop an awareness of the needs of academically diverse learners and how they intend to implement and/or modify instruction to meet those needs. Participants all came from one university. As part of the design of the study, the participants were surveyed to investigate (a) their attitudes and beliefs towards academically diverse learners; (b) the teaching practices they would utilize in response to academic diversity in their classrooms; and (c) the confidence they have in their abilities to identify and address these various needs in their classrooms. Several strategies including activities to enhance creativity, cooperative learning, individual instruction, problem-solving activities, and projects were considered noteworthy for the ratings by the preservice teachers as appropriate for all students. Small differences were found based on the preservice teachers' year of placement in the School of Education, indicating that as students progress through this program, they may learn more about different techniques and when and for whom they are appropriate; however, differences across groups were not statistically significant. Results also indicated that across the different years in the program, preservice teachers did not have very high or very low confidence in addressing these issues in their own classrooms. Each grouping fell around the middle level of confidence.