Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Students were performing below grade level in reading, fluency, and comprehension in a suburban school in South Carolina. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of teachers about their preferred differentiated instruction approach (face-to-face vs. computer-based) to meet the needs of at-risk students in 2nd grade. The underlying theoretical framework was drawn from constructivist theory, observation theory, and social development theory. The study questions were on teachers' perceptions of the best form of differentiation, improved reading based on peer socialization in face-to-face instruction, and benefits and limitations of a computer-based approach. The study was a single case study design, with qualitative data from 10 participants; the tools included an attitudinal questionnaire, focus groups, and interviews. Data sources were triangulated and analyzed for emergent themes. The results showed that teachers perceived differentiation as a positive approach to meeting students' needs with a preference for a face-to-face approach because it provided direct contact with the student, but computer-based approach had an advantage in compiling data. The teachers faced challenges using face-to-face instruction, including time management, planning, administrative support, and lack of professional development opportunities. The challenges led to a recommendation for professional development. This study supports positive social change in that educators may apply the results to their efforts to develop student skills in reading, fluency, and comprehension, thus increasing students' opportunities for success and productivity in society.