NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

Bringing Education to You

K-12 Professionals

Motivating Underachievers using Response to Intervention and Differentiated Instruction

EDUC 600




Instructor: Sophia Thwaites

Grading: Letter

Spring, Summer & Fall (Ongoing)

Instruction Mode: Internet-Asynchronous (Online Class)

Academic Level: K-12 Professional Development

Course Fee: $145

Class Offered Through Knowledge Delivery Systems

Course Description:

Stepping in to assist underachievers before a pattern of failure becomes engrained can
lead to improved student success in school. Educators learn to identify the prototypical
causes of underachievement—including fear of failure, low self-esteem, negative peer
pressure, and lack of motivation—and then to locate the underachievers in their
classrooms, including gifted students and those eventually identified for special
education. Educators then learn to select specific research-based interventions to target
those students, using the three-tier Response to Intervention (RTI) system to reverse a
pattern of underachievement.

Through the combined efforts of both differentiated
instruction (DI) and RTI, educators become flexible planners who supply their students
with plentiful choices and frequently monitor their students’ progress, to help them
exploit their strengths and become lifelong learners. Educators explore the crucial role of
flexible groupings as an essential strategy for assisting underachievers improve academic
results. For classrooms with students below, at, and above grade level, educators study
compacting, scaffolding, and tiering strategies. For classrooms with a range of learning
preferences, educators learn techniques to accommodate them and then how to monitor
students’ progress within and beyond those preferences. This course prepares teachers to
intervene for underachievers, helping them to experience success in the classroom and
the world beyond.


After completing this course, students will know:

  • Prototypes of underachievers
  • How to apply specific interventions for specific student needs
  • Tier 1, 2, and 3 interventions for students struggling with fear of failure
  • How to motivate students by teaching to their learning styles and modalities
  • How to use both RTI and DI to meet the needs of diverse students
  • Connections between differentiated instruction (DI) and Response to Intervention (RTI)
  • How to use flexible groupings in the context of both DI and RTI
  • How to compact curriculum
  • Specific strategies for scaffolding and tiering lessons
  • How to monitor students’ progress within and beyond their learning preferences


Transcripts, handouts, and PowerPoint presentations

About The Instructor

Sophia Thwaites
Sophia Thwaites

Sophia Thwaites earned her M.A. in Education with a Social Studies concentration from Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. She earned her B.A. in History from University of Florida.




**Registration Instructions:

Register for this class through KDSi. Effective January 1, 2015 the cost of this course will be $199.00.

NOTE: Upon registration, you have 2 months for course completion. Although many of our courses are approved for both 1 and 3 graduate professional development credits, participants can only receive credit for one version of each course. 

A minimum $20 processing fee will be assessed per person for cancellations received after the start of the course. Refunds are not issued after the start of the course or after access to the course has been provided.

**Register Now