Traditional Classroom Differentiated Classroom
Instruction is teacher-centered.Instruction is student-centered.
Instruction is largely provided in a whole-group setting.Different grouping formats (e.g., whole-group, small-group, pairs) are used for instruction.
When teachers assign students to work in groups, the groups are usually static, based on achievement level (e.g., low, middle, and high achievers).Teachers employ flexible grouping practices based on the students’ learning needs and interests.
Teachers target instruction at the level of the middle achievers.Teachers assign challenging and engaging tasks to everyone in the class.
Instruction is provided one way (e.g., via lecture).Instruction is provided in multiple ways (e.g., via lecture, modeling, hands-on, visual representations)
Instructional tasks are aligned with grade-level standards.While aligning with grade-level standards, instructional tasks are designed to address students’ needs and differences.
The teacher relies on a single textbook to present information.The teacher uses a variety of materials (e.g., textbooks from multiple grade levels, computer software) to present information.
The teacher assigns the same assignment to all students.The teacher offers several assignment choices.
The teacher assesses the students’ knowledge of a unit usually with a written test.Although the teacher may give a written test at the end of the unit, he also provides the students with several options (e.g., written report, model, video) to demonstrate their knowledge.
Teachers use summative assessment to assess the students’ knowledge.In addition to summative assessment, the teachers use formative assessment to guide instruction.
“Fair” means that every student works on the same tasks.“Fair” means that each student works a task, which may be the same or different than their peers’, to meet his or her needs.
“Success” means making a good grade or mastering the material.“Success” refers to an individual student’s academic growth.
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