Date of Conferral







Stephen Rice


According to the National Center for Educational Statistics and the National Center for Educational Progress (NAEP, 2011), student with disabilities are not making significant academic gains compared to non-disabled student groups. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of differentiating instruction specifically pre-teaching and re-teaching and whether or not a student has a disability with academic performance on the Maryland State Assessment (MSA) for eighth grade reading across 17 middle schools in Anne Arundel County. The theories of cognitive social learning, cognitive neuroscience and brain based learning grounded the quantitative quasi-experimental research using an ex post facto design based on archival data collected from September 2011 to January 2013 by the researcher and multiple observers from the secondary special education leadership team. A two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was utilized to determine if significant differences existed among the reading performance for students in schools where teachers differentiated instruction, and type of student. Results from the study demonstrate that students without disabilities continue to have higher scores than students with disabilities. It is recommended results from this study be shared with educators to expand the knowledge base of educators to assist with closing the achievement gap between students with and without disabilities.