Date of Award

Winter 12-2021

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Tiffany Bockelmann


motivation, engagement, differentiated instruction, multiple intelligences, learning styles, differentiation by product


This 2021 study focused on student motivation and engagement when differentiated instruction was provided. By taking into consideration how each individual student learns, there is an opportunity to create an engaged and motivated student body as they each learn and understand in their own way. The purpose of this research study was to investigate how differentiated learning activities could affect student engagement and motivation. In other words, how does providing students the opportunity to learn in their preferred learning intelligence affect how they interact with the content and complete the work assigned? This study was conducted with two student groups in the 9th English course; one group was provided with differentiated learning activities catered to their learning intelligences and the second group was not provided the differentiated learning options. Students were sorted based on the class period they were assigned at the start of the school year. Through observations, interviews, and surveys, this study was able to examine how students’ engagement and motivation was affected by differentiated learning activities and used to guide future curriculum planning. Based on the data collected, there was little impact on student motivation and engagement in the 9th Grade English Language Arts classroom. Students in the differentiated group were motivated to complete their work more frequently than students in the non-differentiated. In terms of engagement, based on the student interviews, students from both groups felt they were motivated and engaged in the work assigned. These results provide us with a deeper understanding of what motivates and engages students in the classroom setting and how educators can better meet their needs.



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