Encouraging Higher Performance through an Inclusive Curriculum: A Case Study

Amanda Guidice, Leah A. Nillas

Research output: Faculty Advisor of Undergraduate Research


During student teaching, it became rather apparent to me that many very intelligent students choose to enroll in lower-level classes that are clearly not challenging enough to help them reach their maximum potentials. One student particularly stood out to me due to his excellent behavior within my remedial English class, in addition to the fact that he received over one hundred percent in the course at the end of the semester. Through a case study on this particular student, I sought to find out how I, as a novice teacher, can encourage students to enroll in average or higher level English courses that are more appropriate to their levels of intelligence and ability. To do so, I focused on motivation and engagement both through an in-depth literature review on similar topics and through my own research methods.During my research process, I collected observations from student teaching and had the student complete two surveys, two interviews, and three journal entries. After analyzing my data and comparing it to the literature review, it seems that the student’s responses generally support those found in prior research. By incorporating student interests and experiences into class content, providing more options for completing projects, and using more humorous and interactive assignments, we can increase levels of student motivation and engagement within the classroom. Furthermore, the student supported prior findings regarding teacher personality traits that make students feel more comfortable and motivated, such as when teachers are understanding, knowledgeable, and approachable. These findings suggest that it is absolutely possible to further engage students within the classroom, and to increase their motivation to achieve. By paying attention to the needs and concerns of students, it seems more likely that teachers will be able to accommodate these diverse expectations. Although these results are specific to my case study student, the fact that his responses almost directly align with those within previous research suggests a commonality among many students. In the future, it might be beneficial to measure if beginning these accommodations early (perhaps in middle school or during freshman year in high school) would actually show a positive effect in terms of students enrolling in more difficult classes.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • inclusion
  • case-study
  • English language arts


  • Education
  • Secondary Education and Teaching

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