Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Open Access Thesis


Individualized instruction -- Middle West; Middle school teachers -- Middle West; Individualized education programs; Mastery learning; Open plan schools;


The needs of students in American schools are increasingly more varied as the school population becomes more diverse. Ensuring that all students receive access to an appropriate education becomes vital to our future. Differentiated instruction has been suggested as one way to provide that access. Differentiated instruction does this by using planning that explicitly addresses students' diverse interests, learning preferences, and abilities. There is plentiful information on what differentiated instruction is and what it looks like in the classroom, but there is little research on the process of teachers implementing differentiated instruction.

Over a seven-month period, this research sought to understand how a small group of middle school teachers in the Midwest approached the process of implementing differentiated instruction. Through surveys, bimonthly team meetings, interviews, and observations the researcher gathered data from these middle school teachers as they discussed, planned, and experimented with implementing differentiated instruction in their various classrooms. Students' attitudes and feelings toward school were also examined in order to provide corollary data and to incorporate the voices of those who were receiving the differentiated instruction. The themes that emerged from the data were transparency, grading, and self-efficacy. These themes and their implications for professional development related to differentiated instruction were explored.

Date of Award


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Katheryn A. East


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (v, 69 pages)



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