Differentiated Instruction

A classroom consists of an array of very diverse learners each with their own wide range of learning needs. Through recurrent assessment, teachers adapt and vary activities in order to be responsive to individuals needs. This process is called differentiation, or differentiated instruction.

Students who need more complex learning opportunities are able to find these options within a differentiated classroom.

Advanced learners prefer and benefit from instruction that includes; a faster pace of learning, greater independence in study and thought, and increased complexity and depth in subject content. Therefore, in such classrooms students with high learning capacity are likely to feel more challenged, to meet with success and growth, and to be called upon to develop higher level study skills.

Differentiation is a framework for thinking about good teaching for all students. Teaching strategies for differentiating instruction are based on best practices in education. Teachers respond to the needs of all learners in different ways rather than teaching students as though all learners are alike.

Differentiation at Fredericksburg City Public Schools


Every classroom is made up of students with diverse strengths, backgrounds, and ways of learning. Teachers must understand and respond to their students’ unique learning needs in order to deliver instruction that will challenge all learners.

What is Differentiation?

Differentiation is a teaching philosophy based on the premise that teachers should adapt instruction to student differences. Rather than simply “teaching to the middle”, teachers are tailoring their instruction to provide multiple avenues for students to make sense of ideas. Through diversifying instruction, teachers can better meet students’ varying readiness levels, learning preferences, and interests.

One Size Doesn’’t Fit All

There is no recipe for differentiation. Helping all students succeed in their learning is an enormous task that requires teachers to have a strong knowledge of both learning theory and research-based teaching strategies. Teachers can adjust the presentation of curricula through addressing individual learning styles and multiple intelligences. Many of these differentiated instructional techniques are based on current brain-based research.

Meeting Students Where They Are

Differentiation must be a refinement of, not a substitute for, high-quality curriculum and instruction. The intent of differentiating instruction is to maximize each student’s growth by making connections between the curriculum and their interest and experiences. Teachers facilitate learning and individual success by modifying instruction and assisting in the learning process.



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