Differentiated instruction refers to the practice of modifying instruction to meet a variety of student needs. This is the cornerstone of many of our Highly Capable programs, particularly the Holistic and In-Class service models.
To meet students’ needs, teachers may differentiate by modifying:
- Content (what is being taught)
- Process (how it is taught)
- Product (how students demonstrate their learning)
The classroom teacher will often pre-assess students to determine their abilities and needs before they dive into teaching particular content areas. In a differentiated classroom, the teacher routinely performs quick, formative assessments to determine the on-going needs of the student and where the instruction might be modified, if necessary, in order to enhance student learning. The instruction that is developed as a response to assessment will look different depending on student need. This model allows the student to receive Highly Capable services while participating with other students within their neighborhood school community.
When possible, a classroom teacher may group students with similar academic abilities and provide small group instruction. Differentiation can be structured in a variety of ways including:
- Whole group
- Small group
- Individual instruction
Every student contributes their own interests, abilities to the classroom. Differentiation allows students to have their needs met, regardless of their skill level.