Renee Ullom

Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Bonni Gourneau


Because of the growing population of English Language Learners (ELL) (U.S. Department of Education, 2020) and lack of time, training, and resources for teachers, there is an intense need for identification of effective differentiation strategies for teachers to implement in the general education classroom, which allows ELL students to engage in grade-level curriculum while acquiring English. This mixed methods research study examines who ELL students are, barriers to success faced by ELL students, barriers to teachers when planning and delivering curriculum in the general education classroom. The investigation additionally explores the identification and implementation of effective differentiation strategies for ELL students and contributes to the research on effective use of differentiated strategies for ELL students. Results from the research quantitative survey identified four specific differentiation strategies that were effective within the respondents’ practice: (1) providing comprehensible input; (2) activating prior knowledge/building background knowledge; (3) explicit vocabulary instruction; and, (4) use of graphic organizers. The identified strategies were then incorporated into a Professional Learning Community (PLC) with respondents completing four qualitative surveys to report ELL engagement resulting from each strategy. Results showed that although implementation of the strategies increased ELL engagement, lower English Language Development (ELD) level students showed more benefit. Additionally, through triangulation of the qualitative data, it was determined that the implemented strategies provide more ELL engagement in grade level curriculum when used in tandem, rather than in isolation.