A Living Metaphor of Differentiation: A Meta-Ethnography of Cognitively Guided Instruction in the Elementary Classroom

Katherine Baker, Meghan Evelynne Harter


This meta-ethnography explores qualitative studies around the Cognitively Guided
Instruction (CGI) framework of mathematics and illustrates how CGI epitomizes differentiation. The meta-ethnographic process is used to synthesize CGI as differentiation, specifically within the elementary mathematics classroom. Thomas P. Carpenter is credited as one of the foundational researchers of this instructional model, along with his team of Fennema, Franke, Levi, and Empson. Six qualitative pieces from this author group are synthesized to create a reciprocal translation, described by Noblit and Hare (1988) as a generation of a metaphor across similar studies. In this case, the pieces work together to form a metaphor of differentiation across the themes of student centered pacing, alternative forms of assessment and teacher scaffolding.

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