Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Joe Ann Hinrichs


Identifying an effective instructional strategy to remediate struggling readers is a goal for educators. Differentiated instruction (DI) has received much attention as a possible strategy to rectify literacy problems, but quantitative research on its effectiveness is limited. This quantitative study used a quasi-experimental, nonequivalent, pretest-posttest design to determine if DI provided a significant difference in reading comprehension scores between struggling readers instructed with DI strategies and students instructed with whole group strategies. Philosophies grounded in cognitive constructivism constituted the theoretical framework for this study which examined the archival STAR reading assessment pre- and posttest instructional reading level scores of 120 regular education 4th graders enrolled in a Title I school during the 2012 - 2014 school years. According to the 1-way analysis of covariance, the difference in post mean scores of the 2 groups was not significant, although the standard deviation for both groups were high, suggesting that students' learning was connected to unexamined intra-individual differences rather than teaching method. Results and recommendations from this study might inform educators and stakeholders on the approaches to remediate struggling readers and the strategies to secure effective tutors for extended school hours and parental workshops. Addressing the needs of diverse learners in today's classrooms will help promote social change by decreasing the achievement gap that persists between struggling and proficient readers and increasing the number of students prepared to compete in a global society.