Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Billie Andersson


Differentiating instruction is important in helping students with diverse backgrounds and learning styles understand curricula; however, this can be challenging for educators. The educators at the study site reported that teachers’ instructional practices could be affecting African American males’ preparedness for accelerated courses. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine how rigorous, differentiated instructional practices were being used in the classroom to prepare African American male students for accelerated courses at an urban, Title I school in the Southwest United States. The study was guided by Tomlinson’s differentiated instruction framework. Research questions addressed the types of instructional practices teachers used to prepare students for accelerated courses, how instructional practices were aligned with best practices for differentiating instruction, and how instruction was differentiated to meet the academic needs of African American male students. Ten core content teachers were selected as participants. Data were collected using individual interviews and direct classroom observations. Using a priori and axial coding, the data were analyzed for emergent themes. Findings showed that differentiation strategies were being used but could be strengthened and that culturally responsive teaching had not been considered as a differentiation strategy. A 3-day professional development project for teachers was created to address culturally responsive teaching, learning styles, and differentiation for African American male students. The results of this study may help educators transform their instruction, cultivating a culture of equitable learning that could ultimately challenge students to rise to their full academic potential.