Individual differences may include:

  • cognitive abilities, including students’ current level of understanding and ability in relation to a particular topic or skill
  • prior learning experiences
  • learning styles and preferences
  • motivation and engagement with learning
  • interests and talents.

Through differentiated planning and programming, teachers can consider students’ varying abilities, learning styles, interests and needs.

What is Differentiation?

Differentiation is a targeted process that involves forward planning, programming and instruction. It involves the use of teaching, learning and assessment strategies that are fair and flexible, provide an appropriate level of challenge, and engage students in learning in meaningful ways. Differentiated programming recognises an interrelationship between teaching, learning and assessment that informs future teaching and learning.

Differentiated programming:
  • provides teaching, learning and assessment for learning experiences that cater for the diversity of learners so that all students can learn effectively
  • provides alternative methods and choices for students to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills
  • considers what resources and stimulus materials will assist students
  • includes a range of activities and resources appropriate for students with different learning needs and levels of achievement
  • promotes flexible learning experiences and encourages students to work at their own pace to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills
  • monitors student learning over time using evidence of student achievement to guide future teaching and learning opportunities
  • considers how individualised feedback to students can help identify student strengths and areas for improvement.
Differentiated programming provides students with opportunities to:
  • demonstrate, in different ways, what they know, understand and can do at different points of the learning cycle
  • discuss with their teachers their preferred learning style and new ways of learning
  • explore, experiment and engage with the concepts and principles underpinning what they learn
  • develop higher-order thinking and creative and critical thinking skills.

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