Research on individual differences within a sociocultural perspective: Co-regulation and adaptive learning

Mary Mccaslin, Heidi Legg Burross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background/Context: Research is presented on teacher-centered instruction and individual differences among students within a sociocultural perspective-specifically, within a coregulation model. Purpose of Study: To determine the utility of a co-regulation model for understanding teacher and student adaptation to the press of cultural and social demands for student achievement. Research Design: Multiple methods were used and quantitative procedures applied to data obtained in Grades 3-5 classrooms (N = 47) in schools (N = 5) that primarily served students living in poverty and were engaged in comprehensive school reform. Data sources include observation of classroom practices (N =108; mean = 2 observations per classroom) to identify differences in instructional opportunity within teacher-centered instruction; students'(N = 439) reported self-monitoring of their classroom activity to ascertain individual differences among them in their adaptation to classroom demands; and student performance on classroom-like tasks (story writing; individual student unit of analysis) and standardized tests (SAT9 language, math, and reading subtests; grade-level unit of analysis) to illuminate the dynamics of opportunity, activity, and adaptation in student achievement. Conclusions/Recommendations: Results support the potential of a co-regulation model to understand and enhance teacher-centered instruction of students who differ in adaptation to classroom demands and achievement expectations in nontrivial ways. The practicable instructional opportunities that most aligned with cultural demands for improving student performance on mandated tests was a basic form of direct instruction. Direct instruction appears to cast a wide safety net, including students who are and are not yet ready to profit from this mode of instruction as expressed by mandated test performance. Students not yet ready for culturally mandated performances are nonetheless acquiring desirable and personally meaningful adaptations to learning challenges that are co-regulated by direct instruction opportunities. Unfortunately, these students remain largely invisible to sociocultural policy makers who portray them as uninvested in, if not resistant to, school learning. It is reasonable to ask how long students will continue to participate in and adapt to classroom demands without cultural validation of that participation and recognition of the learners these students are and wish to become. It is time for deliberate examination of cultural beliefs and regulations that equate student performance on mandated tests with meaningful learning a prepared future citizenry, and the effectiveness of the public school

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-349
Number of pages25
JournalTeachers College Record
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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