Paulina’s Needs Assessment Reflection

After receiving feedback from our peers on our needs assessment, it was clear that many of them had made similar comments and gave feedback that was aligned with what my partner and I had noticed when conducting our needs assessment. For instance, many of our peers had mentioned the importance of the professional development for the Developmental Mathematics team at Seton Hall University. Even though these instructors have been teaching for several years, they are not necessarily trained in education and have no educational background. This is why they know the theory behind differentiated instruction, but have no experience or knowledge on how to actually implement it, which is the purpose of the professional development. Even though it was mentioned that it is odd that many of the instructors are uneducated in their teaching method, I believe this is because the setting is a university. Most educators at the higher education level are not necessary trained in educating because their education has been in the subject matter that they teach. Unfortunately, this is a flaw in the system, as I believe all educators, regardless of what or where they teach, should be educated in how to educate. This is why I personally believe this professional development is, up to a point, crucial for these instructors to experience.

In addition to comments about the instructors, our peers had given feedback on the types of questions asked in both the survey portion and in the face-to-face interviews. According to our peers, the questions were simple enough for the instructors to answer, but detailed enough to receive appropriate responses. Additionally, the face-to-face interview questions were said to have been very specific, which was the initial thought process that my partner and I were designing the questions. One critique about a question we had asked was to make the question that asked “In your experience, have you come across a pattern in regards to the range of variation of abilities between students enrolled in Developmental Mathematics across the semesters?” more open ended. The intentions were to avoid creating yes/no questions, but my partner and I were fortunate enough to have a group of instructors who elaborated on every question, regardless of what it was asking.

Lastly, there was a recommendation made to integrate problem-based learning and flipped-classroom strategies into our professional development. However, although these techniques can be used to differentiate instruction, they would only be mentioned in passing as potential possibilities of differentiation. My partner and I still have a list of goals and objectives to create, but we will keep this recommendation in mind when creating and designing our agenda for the professional development. Overall, it seems as though my partner and I were able to get a substantial amount of information from the Developmental Mathematics team in order to identify the need to provide them with professional development on differentiating instruction. The overall goal and intention of this professional development will be to help individualize instruction, especially for those who are on the extreme ends of the ranges of ability so that all of the Developmental Mathematics students can benefit from instruction equally.

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