Differentiation a solution to education’s woes?

John Kenny Blog

I am of the belief that academic achievement is the core purpose of schooling, and it is up to us teachers to ensure students achieve at a high enough level to function well in society (For reference, it’s 420 on PISA). Of course, this is a rather complex undertaking because students differ in their innate intellectual ability and environmental circumstances, meaning that the range of academic ability in any classroom can be exceptionally wide. In any given year level, there is a five to six-year difference between the most advanced and the least advanced ten percent of students. There is some evidence that this gap could be even wider in mathematics classrooms (see here).

Differentiated instruction, where instructional methods, materials and outcomes differ according to student need, is often highlighted as a solution to this problem. Differentiated instruction comes in pretty extreme forms. Its most extreme form is that…

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