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Advanced Learner Ed


What is Differentiation?

  • Differentiation means providing students with different tasks and activities.
  • Differentiation can be varying the pacing, challenge level, and/or instructional strategy to meet students' needs, learning goals, or interests.
  • Differentiating the curriculum can relate to the content of the material (what is presented), the process by which such material is presented (how it is presented), and the products that students create, and/or the assessment of student work (how is it assessed).
  • Differentiating for gifted or high achieving students allows them a wider range of creativity, critical thinking, and opportunities for intellectual growth.
  • Differentiation is integrated into the regular school day as learning experiences based on the core curriculum.
  • Different types of differentiation techniques may be used separately or in combination.

Examples of Differentiation

  • Using Depth and Complexity
  • Flexible Skills Grouping
  • Cluster Grouping
  • Pre-Assessment and Compacting
  • Tiered Assignments
  • Contracts / "Menus"
  • Learning Centers
  • Interest Centers / Interest Groups
  • High Level Questions
  • Independent Work / Special Projects (Longitudinal Studies)
  • Mentoring
What Differentiation is Not What Differentiation Is
  • Individualized Instruction
  • Chaotic
  • Just another way to provide homogeneous grouping
  • Necessarily just harder grading of the basic assignment
  • Just higher-level questions and higher expectations of the same assignment
  • More work
  • A proactive plan for a variety of ways to express learning, as well as a different way of learning
  • Flexible grouping fluid
  • Adjustment of the nature of an assignment, not the quantity (It's more qualitative)
  • Multiple approaches to content, process, and product
  • Student centered
  • A Blend of whole-class, group, and individual instruction
  • A call for "compacting"

The goal of differentiation is to maximize learning time for the advanced learner.