Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Karen Tardrew

Second Advisor

Geri Chesner

Third Advisor

James Fitzpatrick



Differentiated instruction is an approach to teaching in which educators actively plan for students' differences so that all students’ academic needs are met. It is also a process of ensuring that what a student learns, how he or she learns it, and how the student demonstrates what he or she has learned is a match for that student's readiness level, interests, and preferred mode of learning (Tomlinson, 2008). In a differentiated classroom, teachers divide their time, resources, and efforts to effectively teach students who have various backgrounds, readiness and skill levels, and interests. In other words, no two students within the classroom environment have identical abilities, experiences, belief, and or identical needs. However, all students are expected to achieve successful outcomes from the skills and concepts taught daily. Teachers can differentiate in four ways: 1) through content, 2) process, 3) product, and 4) learning environment based on the individual learner (Tomlinson, 2000).

Thus, this change leadership plan proposed to develop a plan that will enhance the delivery of reading instruction for students in fourth grade through the process of differentiated instruction.The researcher wanted to find out if an implementation of differentiated instruction would change the teaching practices that would ultimately change students' academic outcomes.

Finally, the findings of this research indicated that changes were needed if teachers genuinely want to meet the needs of all learners. Teachers can no longer teach "the lesson" and hope that everyone gets it (Gregory and Chapman, 2007) - hence one size doesn’t fit all.