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American College Of Education

Focus of Study in Differentiated Instruction

Through flexible, online graduate courses, employ technologies in various areas to develop higher-order learning experiences for your students. The research-based coursework has been created to help teachers:

  • Develop leadership skills to engage the community in support of student learning and to advocate for the success of all students
  • Hone skills and knowledge to improve teaching effectiveness and enhance student achievement
  • Construct learning opportunities that stretch far beyond the classroom

Become a more effective educator and learn valuable skills to advance your career with this online degree program. Start your application, or check admission requirements.

Program Summary

Building on classic concepts, the Differentiated Instruction concentration recognizes how the mental landscape of current learners has been shaped by multimedia, changing how they think and reason when learning. Key components of differentiated instruction are revisited in relation to how new literacies have influenced changes in learner needs. Integrating theory and practice, students create professional learning communities, establish approaches for learner collaboration, and explore current frameworks to deliver content and concepts to meet the wide range of learning needs. Throughout the program, students shift perspectives to view differentiation as a scholarly practitioner and academic leaders, shaping instruction to create educational opportunities for 21st century learners.

Program Outcomes

As a result of your participation in the curriculum and instruction foundational courses in this program, students will develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be instructional leaders who will achieve each of the following program outcomes:

  • Design developmentally and culturally appropriate curricula and instructional units to improve equity and academic achievement for 21st century learners.

  • Utilize academic standards to guide the selection of content and research-based instructional strategies to deliver the content.

  • Design and implement research-supported assessment plans and strategies that lead to continuous improvement of student achievement.

  • Analyze student data and apply research to adapt instruction and to select appropriate materials to improve student performance.

  • Apply research-based principles to establish positive, safe, and secure student-centered learning environments.

  • Engage in leadership opportunities, research, and participate professionally in ongoing learning.

  • Apply research-based instructional strategies to develop literacy knowledge and skills in reading/language arts and all content areas.

  • Utilize data-driven decision making and integrated, differentiated instruction using appropriate technologies and tools to improve the achievement for all students.

  • Apply in-depth knowledge of differentiation concepts to design and implement curriculum and instruction for multiple grade levels.

  • Determine which specific strategies best guide the selection of content and research-based instructional approaches to create a differentiated learning environment supportive of student achievement.

COURSE PLAN

(3 semester credits each unless noted otherwise)

Initial Courses (3 semester credits each, except if noted otherwise)

These Course to be taken at the beginning of program

CI5033 Creating Safe and Supportive Classrooms
CI5393 Teacher Leadership

Remaining Courses (3 semester credits each, except if noted otherwise)

Classes to be taken during remaining terms (order based on availability)

ED5013 Assessment Strategies for Improving Learner Outcomes
ED5153 Research Methods
CI5333 Student Engagement
CI5453 Learning with Technology
CI5091 Capstone Experience for Curriculum and Instruction (1 semester credit)
LIT5203 Strengthening Literacy (Non- Michigan version of LIT5233)
LIT5233 Prescriptive Intervention for Reading Difficulties (Michigan version of LIT5203)
CI5203 Differentiated Instruction: Theory to Practice
CI5213 21st Century Literacies
CI5223 Differentiated Instruction: Principles in Action

Total credits: 34 semester credits

M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a ​focus of study in Differentiated Instruction

CI5033 Creating Safe and Supportive Classrooms

Through classroom application of course content, this course provides students with substantial practical experience as they master and implement preventive and positive classroom management strategies. In addition, students acquire both theoretical and practical knowledge about the relationships between school-wide systems and behavioral development, learning, and achievement among students with diverse needs.

CI5393 Teacher Leadership

This course explores the critical roles teachers play in decision-making through the perspective of multiple stakeholders. Learners engage in leadership interactions to develop problem-solving skills and the ability to become change agents for continuous school improvement.

ED5013 Assessment Strategies for Improving Learner Outcomes

This course develops competencies in utilizing formative and summative assessment practices and data to inform and guide curriculum development and instruction. Classroom and school-based assessment tools provide teachers with the knowledge and skills required to meet the needs of diverse learners. Embracing assessment is the first step toward "data-based" decision making in education.

ED5153 Research Methods

This course enables students to become informed consumers of educational research and to develop skills that prepare them to carry out action research in their schools and classrooms. An emphasis is placed on providing students with knowledge that they can apply in determining whether particular research findings are relevant to their leadership and instructional practices and to distinguish between trustworthy and non-trustworthy research. Throughout the course, students identify the elements that scientifically-based research and action research share. Emphasis is placed on how research can become a vital and relevant tool for teachers and school leaders.

CI5333 Student Engagement

This course prepares teachers to establish high expectations for all students and to effectively evaluate and implement theories of motivation and cognitive engagement in classroom learning. Emphasis will be placed on different theories of motivation and how classroom, school, work, and social environments shape and influence student motivation.

CI5453 Learning with Technology

This course examines the use of computer technology for managing 21st century classrooms and providing differentiated instructions to 21st century learners. Learners will evaluate their own use and their school district’s use of technology and develop action plans for integration and change.

CI5091 Capstone Experience for Curriculum and Instruction (1 semester credit)

The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the Curriculum and Instruction program.

LIT5203 Strengthening Literacy (Non- Michigan version of LIT5233)

This course prepares students to implement a school-wide leadership initiative to improve a comprehensive range of literacy skills. Specific principles and theories of reading instruction are evaluated in relation to currently employed practice so teachers can immediately strengthen instruction. Students examine the scientific research base underlying different models of reading instruction. Special attention is given to curriculum mapping, alignment, and the development of an implementation plan to strengthen literacy.

LIT5233 Prescriptive Intervention for Reading Difficulties (Michigan version of LIT5203)

This course prepares students to implement a school-wide leadership initiative to improve a comprehensive range of literacy skills. Specific principles and theories of reading instruction are evaluated in relation to currently employed practice so teachers can immediately strengthen instruction. Students examine the scientific research base underlying different models of reading instruction. Special attention is given to curriculum mapping, alignment, and the development of an implementation plan to strengthen literacy.

CI5213 21st Century Literacies

Exploring the impact of 21st century skills on traditional literacies, this course disseminates characteristics of the new literacies including visual, digital, critical, economic, and scientific as they influence sustainable learning in content areas while instruction shifts to accommodate these differences. By building connections and layering curriculum, this course probes effective frameworks to deliver a range of instructional options to brand the cognitive and affective domains.

CI5203 Differentiated Instruction: Theory to Practice

This course examines the major tenets of differentiated instruction in relation to the diverse needs of 21st
century learners, establishing and authenticating the philosophy driving learning-centered teaching while
exploring how neurological changes influence thinking. A range of instructional and assessment options are
prospected to amplify the learning experience, exemplified by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
and other state frameworks.

CI5223 Differentiated Instruction: Principles in Action

Blending principles of thought with action, this course maximizes learning through integrated and inquiry-based experiences, enhanced creative expressions, and elements found in habits of the mind; applying brain-based research to augment instruction. Moving principles to form action, concepts of DI are infused into lesson plans by contrasting frameworks to deliver content, process and products, while influencing affective thought within the learning environment.

Semester Credits Tuition Per Credit Total Tuition
34 $235 $7,990

Applicable fees

  • Application fee: $50
  • Technology and library fee: $10.00 per credit hour (for a total of $340)
  • Program conferral fee: $100

2016 total program cost: $8,480. For more information, visit the tuition section.


Total program cost for students who were admitted, re-entered, or changed programs before the February 22, 2016 term: $7,125.