Thesis Title

Differentiated Instruction: Principles and Techniques for the Elementary Grades

Graduation Date

Spring 2006

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


Differentiated instruction is an educational approach that adjusts instruction to accommodate individual students’ needs, rather than beginning at a predetermined set point. This approach is meant to increase both student learning and motivation. Because traditional instruction tends to “teach to the middle,” or primarily focus on reaching average children, the needs of struggling and advanced learners are often not adequately addressed. This review explores the creation of a differentiated classroom by introducing the philosophy behind differentiated instruction and some common approaches to differentiation. Because differentiated instruction assumes certain degrees of literacy and independence, some of these strategies are more appropriate for young children than others. This review synthesizes and presents a variety of techniques appropriate for use in elementary schools, particularly in the primary grades. Because few authors have written extensively on differentiation, the field would benefit from the addition of further viewpoints, as well as scientific studies on the efficacy of differentiated instruction.

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