All lessons were planned prior to the experimental

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All lessons were planned prior to the experimental period to ensure that all learning styles/intelligences were equally represented and that tasks related to each preference based on suggestions given in previous research. The scheme of work was structured so that Honey and Mumford’s learning styles and Gardner’s multiple intel- ligences were represented in alternate lessons, or where a task continued beyond one lesson, in alternate tasks. This was to ensure that lessons were varied and stimu- lating. The questions and mark scheme used in the pre- and post-tests were based on the A-level specification mark scheme and were approved by professional peers. Both groups were taught by the same teacher and received the same tests, inventories and initial questionnaires. The final question- naire differed in that the main focus was on the type of differentiation received (by learning styles or ability). Students were asked not to discuss content of materials or lessons with students outside of their own teaching group. Participants Thirty-three A-level psychology students from two classes at a Further Education college in the north-west of England initially consented to participation in the study; however, due to absence from class for testing, five students were omitted from the final sample. No students declined to parti- cipate or withheld consent. Students were taught by their usual teacher (the same for both groups) according to their normal timetable in their usual classes over the experimental period of three weeks (nine lessons, 13.5 hours in total). The A level specification was followed as normal as students prepared for their A level exams. Students were 17- to 19-years-old, 12 males and 21 females (10 males and 18 females in the final sample) with a range of minimum target grades from A to C. Performance grades prior to the study ranged from A to D. Achievement and gender split were similar Psychology Teaching Review Vol. 16 No. 2 71 Learning styles in the classroom
across both classes. Classes were allocated to intervention condition (differentiation by ability vs differentiation by learning style) at random by the toss of a coin. The differentia- tion by learning style group contained 16 students and the differentiation by ability group contained 17 students. Materials Students were given a consent form outlining the purpose and ethical considera- tions of the study. Although students were above 16 years, as they were in full-time education, a similar letter was given to parents/guardians requesting negative consent. A test of comprehension, description and analysis of a recently taught topic was given prior to the start of the intervention teaching. This contained questions struc- tured in a similar manner to an A-level exam.

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