Differentiation: Readiness

Differentiation | Planning | Readiness | Interests | Learning Preferences | Strategies Alignment

Readiness is…

Meeting the needs of each learner based on what assessment data determines current skills level. Understand what a learner knows and does not know, and then plan instruction according to those needs.

Readiness is not…

Teaching content at the same level and in the same way for all learners. Grouping students based on grades or scores without looking at what the data identifies as learning gaps and/or enrichment.

Types of Readiness

Tiered Instruction

The activity is leveled into two or more versions based on the learning outcome. Students are assigned to the activity that addresses their academic needs. Guided Reading is an example as students are grouped by reading skill needs. Each group gets instruction based on what assessment data identifies for skill development. Students can be reassigned to a different group based on skill progress.
ASCD Guidetemplate by DC – Description via RTI

Scaffold Support

Students work on tasks that include supports that help students complete the work at the required level. Learners may be grouped by skill level or mixed skill levels. For example, during a lecture, students take notes using a graphic organizer. For some, the graphic organizer may be partially pre-filled or completely filled in. As students pay attention, they may need to highlight or use color tape to identify key points. Learning Centers or Stations is another way to provide activities where some include supports.

Teacher & Peer Coaching

Students work in mixed skill groups on tasks. Students are taught how to support each other to answer questions or address misunderstandings. In some classes, students are required to ask 3 other students for help before they can approach the teacher. During independent work or team tasks, the teacher may rotate to students to provide assistance. Other times, the teacher might be at a station where she calls on students to get personal or small group coaching support.

Example Strategies

  • Leveled Assignments
    Design an activity that enables students to meet the learning outcome at the skill level for the focus standard(s) or curriculum outcome(s). Next, adapt the activity for different levels of complexity based on the identified needs of the learners. See the Think Dots in this list for examples.
  • Think Dots (learn more)
    This activity include 6 task (2 rows of 3 squares). The squares are numbered from 1-6. Usually in groups of 2-4, students collectively choose tasks in any order of preference to complete.
    Option 1: Make each square progressively more challenging, or group by 2 or 3 tasks
    Option 2: Make an aligned new copy based on the first version. The new copy is a different level of complexity.
  • Learning Centers & Stations (learn more)
    Centers or stations are set up with different tasks. Learners move through each location to complete the work. At each station, include different sets of tasks that reflect the supports and challenges that each group of students need. Many teachers put the tasks into color folders (physical and digital), and assign students to the color for the leveled work. It’s best to change the color coding each time.
  • Think-Tac-Toe (learn more)
    This tic-tac-toe format of 3×3 or 4×4 includes tasks in each square. Some rules require completion of 3 or 4 in a row. My preference is requiring completion of either one per row or per column. May be completed individually or in small groups.Option 1: Set each row or column of options at different levels of complexity. Some students may be assigned specific row or column based on their need. Or, have students do one task per section so that they are exposed to gradually more complex tasks.
    Option 2: Another option is to create a new copy of this activity for a different groups to work at their challenge needs.

Supporting Resources