Differentiated Instruction: Developing Tiered Assignments

Differentiated instruction  has become the hot way for educators to reach the diverse learning needs of all their students. In fact, even if you haven’t head of differentiated instruction, you might already be using it. For instance, do you employ cooperative learning groups? Then you are using differentiated instruction!

Today on TeachHUB.com, frequent contributing writer Janelle Cox, herself a seasoned elementary educator based in Upstate New York, spells out for us how to plan a tiered lesson.

What’s a tiered lesson? Janelle spells it out: “When you tier an assignment, you are essentially just making an adjustment within the same lesson in order to meet the needs of all students. Assignments can be adjusted in many ways: By complexity, pace, number of steps to complete the task, time allotted, or even the level of independence that is required to complete the task.”

Janelle’s three-step plan is great for beginners looking to dip their toes in the differentiated learning pool, and it’s excellent for veterans looking to brush up on the technique.

Janelle sums up her article like this: “High-quality differentiation occurs when all students’ needs are being met. Many teachers tend to think that that differentiation is giving their higher-level students more work, and their lower level, struggling students less work. However, this is not the case. Effective, high-quality differentiation hinges upon focusing on what students need to know, understand, and do. Once you have figured that out, then students will be able to recall and retrieve the information they are given.”

Do you tier assignments for differentiation in your classroom? If so, what strategies and techniques do you use? Please leave your thoughts and ideas, we would love to hear what you have to say.