School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Rebecca Lunde


differentiated instruction, gifted, poverty, underrepresentation, self-efficacy


Curriculum and Instruction | Education


Teachers face the challenge of meeting diverse learners’ academic needs. Many learners from historically underrepresented student populations enter school with varying exposure to quality learning opportunities creating an academic gap and affecting gifted identification. Differentiation moved to the forefront of education as part of the response to intervention process and to meet gifted learners’ academic needs. However, many teachers may feel ill-equipped to address a wide range of ability levels. The classroom’s diverse and dynamic nature required efficacious teachers prepared to differentiate instruction effectively. The purpose of this bivariate correlational study was to examine the relationship between teachers’ self-efficacy, teachers’ perceptions and frequency of use of differentiated instruction, and gifted endorsement for teachers in northwestern South Carolina whose districts serve a large student population originating from under-resourced homes and who also offer gifted programming. The sample consisted of 108 teachers from four districts. Bandura’s self-efficacy theory and Tomlinson’s differentiated instruction model guided the study as they relate to teachers’ perceptions and frequency of use of differentiation and training. Self-reported data from Likert-type surveys assessed teachers’ sense self-efficacy as measured by the Teachers’ Sense of Self-Efficacy Scale and perceptions and frequency of use of DI practices as measured by the Teachers’ Perceptions and Use of Differentiated Instruction Practices Survey. Bivariate linear regression analyses indicated that gifted endorsement did not predict teachers’ sense of self-efficacy, did not predict teachers’ perceptions of differentiated instructional practices, and did not predict teachers’ frequency of implementation of differentiated instructional practices.