Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Karen Hunt


Since Advanced Placement (AP) College Board’s 2002 implementation of the Equity and Access Policy, the number of students enrolled in AP courses has increased, but student success on passing AP exams has dropped. This signifies that the new populations of AP students are not well prepared with the skillsets necessary to succeed on AP exams. This qualitative exploratory case study focused on how high school AP teachers in one southeastern school district provided differentiated instruction (DI) through content and strategies to diverse learners. Data on the use of DI with AP students were collected through interviews of AP teachers at two schools and document reviews of AP Professional Learning Community Canvas files. The framework for the study was based on Gardner’s multiple intelligences, Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development, and Tomlinson’s differentiation model for instruction. The study detailed how AP teachers selected content, implemented strategies, and created classroom environments using DI frameworks. Seven AP teachers of varying subject expertise participated in the study. Data from the interviews and document reviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed for common themes. Findings showed that AP teachers used College Board AP resources to guide instruction and content to provide student-centered learning. AP teachers also understand how their knowledge of students and their relationships with them are necessary for DI. The teachers’ perspectives indicated that they needed opportunities and time to explore DI strategies to assist AP students. A three-day professional development workshop was created as a project based on the findings. Positive social change might occur if more academically diverse students are provided with student-centered learning to succeed in AP courses and subsequently in postsecondary environments.