Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Beth Robelia


Only 4% of the teachers at a southeastern grade school met the differentiated instruction standard in the state's teacher evaluation system. A qualitative case study design was used to examine elementary (K-5) teachers' perceptions of individualized differentiated instruction as it relates to planning and preparation, and teaching and professional responsibilities at one school in a southeastern state. Individualized differentiated instruction is altering instruction to fit students' needs; teachers who lack individualized differentiated instruction skills do not meet students' specific instructional needs. Danielson's framework for teaching guided this study. The sample consisted of 12 regular education, reading or math teachers in grades K-5 at the study school. Data were collected through review of lesson plan documents and face-to-face interviews. Transcripts were coded and analyzed thematically, and comparative analysis was used to compare the themes to Danielson's conceptual framework. The findings suggested that teachers' use of individualized differentiated instruction was influenced by the amount of planning time, inadequate professional development, and a sense of professional responsibility regarding teaching using the Danielson framework. Participants' planning and preparation for individualized differentiation did not necessarily lead to teaching using differentiated instruction; therefore, a professional development project on the use of differentiated instruction with students was developed. The study impacts social change by providing recommendations for planning effective professional development that improves individualized differentiated instruction and student learning outcomes.

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