differentiated instruction higher education

Differentiated Instruction

Differentiated instruction involves teaching in a way that meets the different needs and interests of students using varied course content, activities, and assessments.

Teaching differently to different students

Differentiated Instruction (DI) is fundamentally the attempt to teach differently to different students, rather than maintain a one-size-fits-all approach to instruction. Other frameworks, such as Universal Design for Learning , enjoin instructors to give students broad choice and agency to meet their diverse needs and interests. DI distinctively emphasizes instructional methods to promote learning for students entering a course with different readiness for, interest in, and ways of engaging with course learning based on their prior learning experiences ( Dosch and Zidon 2014). 

Successful implementation of DI requires ongoing training, assessment, and monitoring (van Geel et al. 2019) and has been shown to be effective in meeting students’ different needs, readiness levels, and interests (Turner et al. 2017). Below, you can find six categories of DI instructional practices that span course design and live teaching.

While some of the strategies are best used together, not all of them are meant to be used at once, as the flexibility inherent to these approaches means that some of them are diverging when used in combination (e.g., constructing homogenous student groups necessitates giving different types of activities and assessments; constructing heterogeneous student groups may pair well with peer tutoring) (Pozas et al. 2020). The learning environment the instructor creates with students has also been shown to be an important part of successful DI implementation (Shareefa et al. 2019). 

Differentiated Assessment

Differentiated assessment is an aspect of Differentiated Instruction that focuses on tailoring the ways in which students can demonstrate their progress to their varied strengths and ways of learning. Instead of testing recall of low-level information, instructors should focus on the use of knowledge and complex reasoning. Differentiation should inform not only the design of instructors’ assessments, but also how they interpret the results and use them to inform their DI practices. 

More Team Project Ideas

Steps to consider

There are generally considered to be six categories of useful differentiated instruction and assessment practices (Pozas & Schneider 2019):

  • Making assignments that have tasks and materials that are qualitatively and/or quantitatively varied (according to “challenge level, complexity, outcome, process, product, and/or resources”) (IP Module 2: Integrating Peer-to-Peer Learning) It’s helpful to assess student readiness and interest by collecting data at the beginning of the course, as well as to conduct periodic check-ins throughout the course (Moallemi 2023 & Pham 2011)
  • Making student working groups that are intentionally chosen (that are either homogeneous or heterogeneous based on “performance, readiness, interests, etc.”) (IP Module 2: Integrating Peer-to-Peer Learning) Examples of how to make different student groups provided by Stanford CTL  (Google Doc)
  • Making tutoring systems within the working group where students teach each other (IP Module 2: Integrating Peer-to-Peer Learning) For examples of how to support peer instruction, and the benefits of doing so, see for example Tullis & Goldstone 2020 and Peer Instruction for Active Learning (LSA Technology Services, University of Michigan)
  • Making non-verbal learning aids that are staggered to provide support to students in helping them get to the next step in the learning process (only the minimal amount of information that is needed to help them get there is provided, and this step is repeated each time it’s needed) (IP Module 4: Making Success Accessible) Non-verbal cue cards support students’ self-regulation, as they can monitor and control their progress as they work (Pozas & Schneider 2019)
  • Making instructional practices that ensure all students meet at least the minimum standards and that more advanced students meet higher standards , which involves monitoring students’ learning process carefully (IP Module 4: Making Success Accessible; IP Module 5: Giving Inclusive Assessments) This type of approach to student assessment can be related to specifications grading, where students determine the grade they want and complete the modules that correspond to that grade, offering additional motivation to and reduced stress for students and additional flexibility and time-saving practices to instructors (Hall 2018)
  • Making options that support student autonomy in being responsible for their learning process and choosing material to work on (e.g., students can choose tasks, project-based learning, portfolios, and/or station work, etc.) (IP Module 4: Making Success Accessible) This option, as well as the others, fits within a general Universal Design Learning framework , which is designed to improve learning for everyone using scientific insights about human learning

Hall, M (2018). “ What is Specifications Grading and Why Should You Consider Using It? ” The Innovator Instructor blog, John Hopkins University Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation.

Moallemi, R. (2023). “ The Relationship between Differentiated Instruction and Learner Levels of Engagement at University .” Journal of Research in Integrated Teaching and Learning (ahead of print).

Pham, H. (2011). “ Differentiated Instruction and the Need to Integrate Teaching and Practice .” Journal of College Teaching and Learning , 9(1), 13-20.

Pozas, M. & Schneider, C. (2019). " Shedding light into the convoluted terrain of differentiated instruction (DI): Proposal of a taxonomy of differentiated instruction in the heterogeneous classroom ." Open Education Studies , 1, 73–90.

Pozas, M., Letzel, V. and Schneider, C. (2020). " Teachers and differentiated instruction: exploring differentiation practices to address student diversity ." Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs , 20: 217-230.

Shareefa, M. et al. (2019). “ Differentiated Instruction: Definition and Challenging Factors Perceived by Teachers .” Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Special Education (ICSE 2019). 

Tullis, J.G. & Goldstone, R.L. (2020). “ Why does peer instruction benefit student learning? ”, Cognitive Research 5 .

Turner, W.D., Solis, O.J., and Kincade, D.H. (2017). “ Differentiating Instruction for Large Classes in Higher Education ”, International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education , 29(3), 490-500.

van Geel, M., Keuning, T., Frèrejean, J., Dolmans, D., van Merriënboer, J., & Visscher A.J. (2019). “Capturing the complexity of differentiated instruction”, School Effectiveness and School Improvement , 30:1, 51-67, DOI: 10.1080/09243453.2018.1539013

  • Higher Ed Gamma

Differentiated Instruction in the College Classroom

By  Michael Patrick Rutter and Steven Mintz

You have / 5 articles left. Sign up for a free account or log in.

One concept that higher education should borrow from K-12 educators is differentiated instruction. This is the notion – rooted in the one-room schoolhouse – that multiple forms of learning can take place simultaneously in a single classroom.

Differentiated instruction addresses differences in student preparation, interests, and strengths by offering a variety of learning pathways within the same classroom that differ in terms of content, focus, activities, or outcome.

Differentiated instruction is not the same as tracking, which divides students into ability groups. Nor should it be confused with individualized instruction, since it involves team-based learning or small group activities.

Differentiated instruction is an activity- or project-driven approach that divides students into teams which engage in a variety of projects, tasks, or problem-solving activities.

Differentiated instruction rests on five fundamental principles. The first, as my colleague Liz McKay, Director of Academic Experience, explains, is that learning isn’t simply a linear process in which ignorance gives way to mastery. Rather, learning typically involves mastering a succession of sub-competencies, each of which requires practice and reinforcement. Mastery tends to fade over time; educational psychologists call this the “forgetting curve,” and it can only be overcome through repeat practice. The purpose of a particular activity might be to combat the forgetting curve – which might be helpful for all students regardless of their progress through the course material.

A second principle is that rather than distinguishing students on the basis of pace – with the faster students considered more advanced or slower paced students “slow” in a pejorative sense – we would do better to focus on depth of understanding or proficiency with a particular skills. A fast-paced student might have only a superficial understanding of a concept, while a slower-paced student might have greater facility with the same concept and a greater ability to apply that knowledge or skill. In this case, the faster-paced student might have a lot to learn from the slower-paced student.

The third principle is that active and collaborative learning  – that is, learning by doing – is, in many instances, the most efficacious way to teach key concepts or skills. Rather than lecturing at “slower” students in order to bring them up to speed, project- and team-based learning will often help them grasp essential subjects.  Such an approach will also have a more enduring impact.

The fourth principle is that team-based learning – too often dismissed as “group work” – is anything but trivial. It can leverage the power of peer mentoring, especially if the teams are relatively small and if team members have specific, individual responsibilities. In addition to prompting discussion, team-based learning can enhance students’ collaboration skills, including the ability to pool knowledge, resolve differences, reconcile conflicting perspectives, delegate responsibilities, and ensure accountability.

The most important principle underlying differentiated instruction is the recognition that instructors aren’t simply content area specialists or evaluators of student work, but, rather, designers of educational experiences. As learning designers, instructors must specify what they want a student to know or to be able to do and, then, design activities that will help students attain that objective and devise assessments to measure whether the students have actually achieved mastery.

Designing learning experiences and appropriate assessments is far more demanding than lecturing or administering a multiple choice or even an essay examination. But as higher education moves toward a greater acceptance of hybrid modes of delivery and personalization of pace, the in-class portions of courses will inevitably include students with varying levels of fluency with the most recent material. The challenge facing instructors is to meet the learning needs of all students, not just a subset.

Steven Mintz is Executive Director of the University of Texas System's Institute for Transformational Learning and Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin.

An aerial shot of the USU Blanding campus

Student Wellness Tip: Create a Peer Support Network

Staff at Utah State University at Blanding employ students to educate and engage their classmates on culturally aware

Share This Article

More from higher ed gamma.

Logo of Higher Ed Gamma

Navigating Life’s Layers of Complexity

What you can learn from this country’s premier chronicler of trauma and the broken heart.

A time lapse image of the stars streaking across the sky

Why We Should Worry About the Decline of American Intellectual History as a Field of Study

  • Become a Member
  • Sign up for Newsletters
  • Learning & Assessment
  • Diversity & Equity
  • Career Development
  • Labor & Unionization
  • Shared Governance
  • Academic Freedom
  • Books & Publishing
  • Financial Aid
  • Residential Life
  • Free Speech
  • Physical & Mental Health
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Sex & Gender
  • Socioeconomics
  • Traditional-Age
  • Adult & Post-Traditional
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Digital Publishing
  • Data Analytics
  • Administrative Tech
  • Alternative Credentials
  • Financial Health
  • Cost-Cutting
  • Revenue Strategies
  • Academic Programs
  • Physical Campuses
  • Mergers & Collaboration
  • Fundraising
  • Research Universities
  • Regional Public Universities
  • Community Colleges
  • Private Nonprofit Colleges
  • Minority-Serving Institutions
  • Religious Colleges
  • Women's Colleges
  • Specialized Colleges
  • For-Profit Colleges
  • Executive Leadership
  • Trustees & Regents
  • State Oversight
  • Accreditation
  • Politics & Elections
  • Supreme Court
  • Student Aid Policy
  • Science & Research Policy
  • State Policy
  • Colleges & Localities
  • Employee Satisfaction
  • Remote & Flexible Work
  • Staff Issues
  • Study Abroad
  • International Students in U.S.
  • U.S. Colleges in the World
  • Intellectual Affairs
  • Seeking a Faculty Job
  • Advancing in the Faculty
  • Seeking an Administrative Job
  • Advancing as an Administrator
  • Beyond Transfer
  • Call to Action
  • Confessions of a Community College Dean
  • Higher Ed Policy
  • Just Explain It to Me!
  • Just Visiting
  • Law, Policy—and IT?
  • Leadership & StratEDgy
  • Leadership in Higher Education
  • Learning Innovation
  • Online: Trending Now
  • Resident Scholar
  • University of Venus
  • Student Voice
  • Academic Life
  • Health & Wellness
  • The College Experience
  • Life After College
  • Academic Minute
  • Weekly Wisdom
  • Reports & Data
  • Quick Takes
  • Advertising & Marketing
  • Consulting Services
  • Data & Insights
  • Hiring & Jobs
  • Event Partnerships

4 /5 Articles remaining this month.

Sign up for a free account or log in.

  • Sign Up, It’s FREE

Logo

Using differentiated teaching to address academic diversity in higher education

Empirical evidence from two cases.

  • Get Citation Alerts
  • Get Permissions
  • Download PDF

University educators increasingly face groups or classes of students with diverse academic levels, challenging a ‘one size fits all’ approach to teaching. In this article, we examine whether and how differentiated teaching, especially the concept of student readiness, can be applied to assess and respond to academic diversity, exemplified by two different cases; a methods lecture series and a peer-evaluation seminar. Each case presents specific tools, activities and techniques inspired by differentiated teaching that may be replicated or used for inspiration in similar contexts. The results include better fulfilment of intended learning outcomes, teaching that is perceived to be meaningful by students and educators, and a more inclusive learning environment. The two cases demonstrate the utility of differentiated teaching in higher education, challenging the prevalent assumption that differentiated teaching does not apply well to a university setting.

Higher education institutions increasingly face diverse student populations with learners from different backgrounds and with varying educational experience ( Boelens et al. 2018 ; Fry et al. 2008 ; Ramburuth and McCormick 2001 ; Tomlinson and Imbeau 2013 ). In turn, university teachers supervise and instruct students within the same project or course with potentially very different prerequisites for achieving the same learning goals ( Boelens et al. 2018 ; Santangelo and Tomlinson 2009 ). Ideally, the teacher is able to bring these different competencies into play in a way that adds value to the course or project and helps the students achieve the relevant learning outcomes. However, the reality is that in many cases the teacher faces an academically diverse group of students where the gap is too wide. They essentially do not speak the same academic language and have very different prerequisites for understanding and using theory and methods within the given subject. On top of this, the teacher is not necessarily trained to deal with this challenge and has no or limited knowledge of the students’ abilities.

The aim of this article is to examine in theory and practice how the pedagogy of differentiated teaching can equip university teachers with the necessary tools and theory to handle academic diversity in groups of students in project supervision or classroom teaching. Differentiated teaching is a pedagogical approach, where teachers provide different avenues for the students to learn the content of the given course, thereby adapting to meet different student needs ( Tomlinson 2017 ). However, the use of differentiated teaching has so far primarily been examined in elementary and secondary education (de Graaf et al. 2019; Ismajli and Imami-Morina 2018 ). There is thus limited documentation of application in higher education ( Boelens et al. 2018 ; Santangelo and Tomlinson 2009 ; Turner et al. 2017 ). A reason for this might be that it is more challenging to apply differentiated teaching principles in higher education because of large class sizes and time constraints, among other factors ( Chamberlin and Powers 2010 ; Ernst and Ernst 2005 ).

We argue that studies testing the principles of differentiated learning in higher education are necessary, first, exactly because the university classroom differs significantly from primary and secondary schools in terms of academic diversity, physical layout, number of students, teaching style and pedagogy. Second, because the few studies that do exist on differentiated learning in higher education show that it leads to improved learning experiences and outcomes for students ( Chamberlin and Powers 2010 ; Ernst and Ernst 2005 ; Santangelo and Tomlinson 2009 ). We thus set out to address the following research question: How can differentiated teaching be used to identify and address academic diversity among university students?

In order to address this research question, we present the results of a differentiated teaching intervention in two cases at Roskilde University in Denmark. Like in other parts of the world, academic diversity has increased in Denmark; the higher education sector has expanded to include more students in general and more students with non-graduate parents in particular. At Roskilde University, this diversity is further pronounced due to an educational structure that builds on the fundamental principles of interdisciplinary degrees and problem-oriented project work ( Andersen and Heilesen 2015 ). In practice, this means that the academic staff often teach and supervise groups of students from a variety of subject combinations, such as geography and history, or communications and business studies. Thus, the students do not come only from different (academic) backgrounds. They also acquire different experiences, methods and theoretical knowledge from their various disciplines and departments at the university.

The two cases presented in this article exemplify the challenges that can occur when university teachers either supervise or instruct students at varying academic levels. The first case is a methods course for students, who take up course work in social sciences, either as a part of an interdisciplinary degree or to qualify for a master's programme. The other case is a supervision project module, where students writing projects together are clustered into a larger group with other project teams. In both cases, the authors have experienced challenges that we deem are related to academic diversity. Based on a review of literature on differentiated teaching, we identify relevant pedagogical approaches and tools that we tested in an intervention in both cases to create a better match between student level(s) and the content and process of our teaching and supervision.

The rest of the article is structured as follows. The next section elaborates on the concept and practice of differentiated teaching. In the third section, we present the two cases, as well as problem identification and design of our differentiated teaching intervention. The fourth section presents our results, where we evaluate the intervention and whether our differentiated teaching approach has helped address the identified problems in our cases. Finally, we discuss the potential and challenges of using differentiated teaching at university level.

  • Differentiated teaching in higher education

Differentiated teaching is defined in somewhat different ways in the scholarly literature, but the fundamental pedagogy comprises a constructive response to what learners already know ( Ismajli and Imami-Morina 2018 ). Differentiated teaching has been divided into two approaches: divergent , where goals and teaching methods are highly specified to meet the needs of individuals or homogenous groups, and convergent , where all students work on common tasks to achieve common goals ( Corno 2008 ; de Graaf et al. 2019; Deunk et al. 2015 ).

Carol Tomlinson and her co-authors have been engaged in academic discussion of differentiation since they introduced the concept in the late 1990s (e.g., Tomlinson et al. 2003 ; Tomlinson and Imbeau 2013 ; Tomlinson and Moon 2013 ; Tomlinson 1999 , 2014 , 2017 ). Tomlinson promotes a convergent approach to differentiated teaching as she argues that common goals are a requirement for differentiated learning to happen. She further argues that differentiated learning builds on the interrelationship between three curricular elements. First, content is the input students learn, or in other words what they are taught, and how students access the material. Second, process is how the students learn. Third, the product concerns the output showing what the students have learned. Tomlinson argues that differentiated teaching is effective facilitation because it takes differences between students into account in all three of these curricular elements ( Tomlinson 2017 ).

In line with this understanding, Michelle Chamberlin and Robert Powers (2010) have outlined seven core principles that guide differentiated teaching, which we aimed to follow as we carried out our interventions: (1) Clearly communicated link between curriculum, instruction and (ongoing) assessment that informs about student understanding of material, personal interests and learning profiles. (2) Teachers respond to student differences. (3) Students are challenged at a level that is attainable, through lessons that emphasise critical thinking intended to promote individual growth, while expected to participate in respectful work. (4) Teachers and students collaborate in the learning process. (5) Group work is intermixed with whole class discussions and activities. Student groupings are based on readiness, interests, or learning profiles. (6) The approach to differentiated teaching is proactive rather than reactive. (7) Space, time, and materials are utilised to suit the needs of the various learners ( Chamberlin and Powers 2010 ).

Another key aspect of differentiated teaching that we applied was the use of both conceptual and practical pedagogical tools. Conceptual tools are overarching principles or guidelines that inform application of practical tools ( Grossman, Smagorinsky et al. 2000 ; Grossman, Valencia et al. 1999 ). Hilary Dack (2019) highlighted Shelley Sherman's (2009) argument that educators oftentimes forget to introduce the conceptual underpinnings behind the implementation of a practical tool. To avoid this, our introduction of practical tools to further differentiated learning will be accompanied by explanations of why these tools are implemented and the goals that we hope to achieve in doing so.

In order to differentiate, teachers must know the students’ levels of readiness in terms of prior knowledge, interests, and learning profiles ( Pashler et al. 2009 ; Tomlinson et al. 2003 ). Based on this, student readiness emerges as a key concept in differentiated teaching and in our intervention ( Pham 2011 ). However, differentiated teaching does not mean the learning goals should vary for each student depending on their readiness level. Rather, the teacher should acquire information about the students’ prior competencies/knowledge and, based on this information, provide the students with different avenues for achieving the learning goals ( Pham 2011 ).

Research design and methods

Our study consists of two cases of diverse student groups in undergraduate courses for which the authors of this article are responsible. These cases were chosen (1) because they each represent a primary form of student teacher interaction in higher education, and (2) because we have experienced challenges associated with academic diversity in both cases.

The selected cases are both within social sciences and offered to undergraduate students in the same department, but they vary in regard to class size and format, as summarised in Table 1 . This variation allows us to explore the potential and challenges of selected differentiated teaching approaches in different contexts. We elaborate on the respective challenges associated with the diverse student groups in the subsequent sections.

Description of the two cases

Class lectures and exercises Group supervision 80–100 students 15–20 students Social Sciences and Business Social Sciences and Business Undergraduate Undergraduate Very diverse academic backgrounds and prerequisites Very diverse academic backgrounds and prerequisites
  • Description of and problem identification in Case 1: Methods course

The first case is a methods course offered every fall semester. This course is compulsory for students from humanities and natural science who take up course work at the Department of Social Sciences and Business as part of a dual degree, but it can also be an elective course for social science students of, for example, public administration or business studies. The first group often includes students from university colleges or, in a few cases, students who have been in the labour market for some time before continuing their higher education. The composition changes somewhat from year to year. The purpose of the methods course is for the students to learn the most fundamental qualitative and quantitative methods and research designs in social sciences, and to equip the students with practical methodological skills. The course consists of nine lessons that vary from two to four hours.

The learning activities were traditionally a mix of lectures and hands-on exercises. The exercises were sometimes in groups, sometimes individual, where students were instructed to, for instance, formulate questions for a hypothetical survey or identify different types of variables. The examination consisted of a written, home-based exam a few weeks after the last lecture to be completed within forty-eight hours. The content of the course, the readings and the exercises were altered for the intervention, as we describe later on.

Because the students in this course come from other departments or from outside the university, they may have very different levels of experience with and knowledge of methodology. For instance, the humanities students mostly have experience with qualitative methods, while natural science students have more experience with quantitative methods. Moreover, some attend the course solely to fulfil a prerequisite, while others are highly motivated and eager to learn. During previous semesters, we observed and experienced how these differences manifested in several challenges that we assess originate from academic diversity.

Selective and low attendance

While all or most of the students showed up to the first lesson, only about half attended the subsequent lessons, and the number fluctuated depending on the theme of the lesson. Based on informal talks with students and an oral evaluation midway through the course, the students seemed to use the teaching plan as a menu to choose from, indicating that many of the students did not find the course relevant as a whole.

A lack of engagement and activity during lessons

It proved difficult to engage and activate the students that were present during lectures and exercises. Some expressed that they found the readings and exercises too difficult, others that they found them too easy. Consequently, only a few students participated actively in lectures and group exercises (e.g., by posing questions, displaying enthusiasm and interest, presenting results from group discussions, etc.).

Only a subgroup achieved the learning outcomes

The student evaluation toward the end of the course showed that those students with a medium level knowledge seemed to learn and benefit from the course, while students at the ends of the spectrum did not.

  • Description of and problem identification in Case 2: Cluster supervision

The second case is so-called cluster supervision. Each semester students at Roskilde University earn half of their credits by working on and delivering a group project (normally two to five students in a group). Each project group is assigned a supervisor, who they normally meet with three to four times during the semester to discuss their project and receive feedback. This supervision is supplemented with cluster supervision two times during the semester. In these sessions, three or four project groups are randomly clustered together (normally fifteen to twenty students) and meet in sessions that are moderated and structured by a faculty member.

Prior to the intervention, the learning activities within the cluster sessions consisted of a short presentation by the faculty member on a generic topic of relevance to the project report, such as what should be included in the methods section of the report. The presentation was followed by the students giving each other feedback. All groups submitted their preliminary work on the reports before the cluster session. Additionally, they were expected to prepare thorough feedback for one or two of the other randomly assigned groups. No template for feedback was given to or used by the students.

Due to the way groups are formed and the random combination of groups in the cluster supervision session, the group cluster may be highly diverse in terms of academic level and experience of working together. The students form the project groups on their own with guidance from faculty. In practice, this means that they are formed based on a mix of interest in specific topics, academic ambition, social aspects including friendships, work styles, schedules and necessity, since every student has to be assigned to a group. This means that the basis for groups differ; some groups may have been shaped based on academic ambition, while others may have been shaped simply because no other options were available. In addition, some groups may consist of students who have worked together on previous projects, while others may be working together for the first time. The students and the faculty member have no prior knowledge about the other groups, except for a brief project presentation that each group is requested to circulate to the other groups before the session. Based on informal discussions with students and our own observations, we found a number of problems that all relate to academic diversity.

Lack of broad student involvement

The ‘group to group’ feedback structure means that each group only receives in depth feedback from one other group. If this feedback is subpar, the takeaway from the session is limited. It is often only the one or two academically strongest or most talkative students from each group who provide feedback. Essentially, the ‘group to group’ feedback therefore often becomes one-to-one feedback between the strongest and/or most dominant group members.

Lack of purpose and fear of embarrassment

Challenges emerge when the gap between academically advanced and less academically advanced groups become too wide. Less advanced groups may feel that they have nothing to contribute, may provide feedback that is of little use to the stronger group, or may not be able to absorb the feedback they receive. This may create a lack of purpose for the stronger groups and instances of awkwardness or humiliation for the weaker groups.

Lack of feedback competency

When feedback is not absorbed by the receiving group, it may also be because students are not pedagogically trained or experienced, or necessarily competent in terms of the difference between ‘good’ or ‘bad’ feedback.

Lack of teacher proactiveness

Teachers have little or no prior knowledge about the students, therefore it is difficult, if not impossible, to be proactive in terms of mitigating the challenges mentioned above.

Lack of knowledge/recognition of intended learning outcomes (ILOs)

The students see the only outcome of the sessions as the feedback they receive on their own project. They are rarely aware that a key exercise and take-away comes from giving feedback.

  • The intervention

The research design entails an intervention of selected differentiated teaching approaches in both cases to compare their usefulness in addressing similar problems associated with diverse student groups in different contexts. The selection of techniques is based on our problem identification and the literature review, choosing those techniques we believe match or best address the challenges we face. The result is a threefold approach, as illustrated in Figure 1 , which takes its point of departure in assessing the students’ readiness level. We describe the process and results of the actual intervention in more detail in the results section but provide a brief overview of the selected methods below and in Table 2 .

Teaching activities for the intervention

Case 1 (methods course) • The lecture topics (methods) were planned based on the students’ experiences as reported in the survey.

• Questions and exercises for both the more and less experienced students are provided for individual and group discussions.

• The literature on the curriculum is supplemented by suggestions for additional readings that approach the same topic in a different way or provide more advanced knowledge.

• Short online video tutorials are provided to help less experienced students become better acquainted with the quantitative methods prior to the lessons.
Case 2 (cluster supervision) • Learning outcomes are made explicit from the beginning of the course with specific emphasis on the value of giving feedback (in addition to receiving it).

• Peergrade is used to submit project information and to give and receive individual feedback prior to the session.

• Introductory content is based on student readiness levels.

• Oral presentation and feedback between groups are organised based on student readiness, as well as content and feedback provided prior to the session.

• Talking points are prepared for each group based on readiness level.

• End of session reflection between instructor and student on content, process, and product.

Figure 1.

Design of the intervention

Citation: Learning and Teaching 14, 2; 10.3167/latiss.2021.140206

  • Download Figure

The baseline for the intervention in both cases is comprised of the challenges identified in the previous sections, which stem from our own experiences and observations from previous semesters along with student evaluations. This design does not provide means for causal inference. Without an experimental design, which has not been feasible in our cases, we cannot determine whether the changes we observe are, in fact, due to our intervention, which is an issue we discuss toward the end of this article.

In Case 1, we distributed a survey to the students prior to the intervention to assess their readiness level. We asked them to rate their level of experience with and to what degree they felt equipped to use ten different qualitative and quantitative methods for collecting and analysing data (e.g., interviews, surveys, descriptive statistics), as well as five different research designs. Based on their answers, we applied differentiated teaching in two of Tomlinson's curricular elements: the content of the course (input) and the learning paths (process) we provided the students. We did this by differentiating the in-class exercises, readings and focus of the lectures – we elaborate how in the results section. The differentiation was fully implemented in six out of nine lessons; a colleague that was not involved in the intervention conducted the last three lessons. Hence, the intervention, empirical examples and the results of the intervention refer to the overall planning of the course and the first six out of nine lessons.

In Case 2, we used the online tool Peergrade, an online platform to facilitate peer feedback sessions with students, 1 to achieve the same purpose of assessing student readiness and progress in order to differentiate input and process. Peergrade was used to administer submission of content and feedback among students and makes it possible to create rubrics that convey the learning goals and expectations toward feedback in a more concrete way to the students. The students submit their project reports in Peergrade and are asked to provide feedback via the system. The feedback given is based on predesigned rubrics reflecting the intended learning outcomes. Students provide feedback individually, which allowed us to see the students’ level of competency and their ability to provide feedback in order to prepare the cluster supervision (see online supplementary material for survey questions and rubrics) – we further elaborate this in the results section.

  • Data collection for evaluating the intervention

To assess the results of the intervention, we use three different types of data that can help us shed light on possible changes in the challenges described earlier.

First, we rely on the students’ perception of their own learning outcomes. In Case 1, we repeated the readiness survey after the intervention. Thereby, we can detect any changes in how the students score their degree of experience with the different methods and level of competence before and after the intervention. For Case 2, we reflected with the students in the final cluster session about what they had learned.

Secondly, we rely on our own observations to triangulate the self-evaluations from the students. In both cases, we continuously took observational notes immediately after lectures and cluster sessions. We registered our observations of the students’ activity, engagement and participation during the lessons – did they pose and answer questions during whole class sessions or were they predominately silent? Did they give thorough feedback to peers? Furthermore, in Case 1, we registered how many students were present each time.

Finally, the students’ output is used to assess their learning progress based on the feedback they gave their peers in Peergrade in Case 2 and the formal student evaluation of the course conducted by the study board in Case 1.

We do not believe that the students’ final grades constitute a reliable way of evaluating the results of the intervention. The main reason is that attendance in the cluster supervision and methods classes is not compulsory, which means that students can take the exam without participating in the intervention.

Results of the intervention

In this section, we report how the implementation of the intervention proceeded, and how the described diversity challenges have changed (or not) for Case 1 and Case 2 respectively.

Implementation of the intervention

The implementation of the intervention in the first case can be categorised into three approaches related to input and process: ‘course content based on readiness-assessment’, ‘differentiation in readings’ and ‘differentiation in student exercises’.

First, the readiness survey was helpful in planning the course content. The survey identified where the students had varying levels of experience with a method, that is, clear examples of diversity, but also where a majority of the students had similar degrees or lack of experience with a method, which is equally important for course planning. To illustrate, we present a few survey results. For instance, Figure 2 shows that approximately 48 per cent of students agreed that they were already well equipped to conduct surveys prior to the course, whereas the other half disagreed or reported a neutral stance. We saw a similar distribution in responses with respect to document analysis, where half of the students had experience with document studies and the other half did not. Meanwhile, the survey showed that around 90 per cent of the students had none or very little experience with quantitative analyses, such as descriptive statistics (see Figure 3 ). In contrast, almost 93 per cent of the sixty-seven students that responded had experience with conducting qualitative interviews. 2

Based on this information, we decided to focus the lectures on those methods where most students had either the least experience or where the students represented the most mixed levels of experience, that is, equipping the students with fundamental skills, especially in surveys, quantitative analysis and document studies. 3 The information from the survey also implied that previously fixed elements of the course, such as interviews and observational studies, were more or less entirely removed from the lectures (although not from the readings, see below), as most of the students reported feeling well equipped to work with these methods.

Second, we differentiated readings, providing both advanced and less advanced texts on each method along with texts in Danish for those who found the English textbook difficult. The purpose was to provide the students with different avenues for learning the material and going beyond the material in case the students found the mandatory readings insufficient. We also provided suggestions for supplemental readings for those students who wished to engage with the course topics at a more advanced level or learn more about methods we did not prioritise in the lessons, for example, interviews and observational studies.

Finally, we differentiated the exercises we gave the students during class by posing mandatory as well as so-called bonus questions. As an example, we asked the students to go through three or four fundamental questions on descriptive statistics, which resembled what they would have to demonstrate for the exam, while a so-called bonus question was more advanced. The purpose was to challenge those students who reported already having experience with a given method in the readiness survey.

We did not base the planning of the course entirely on the readiness survey. First, because students’ own perception of their competencies may be an insufficient indicator. Second, because we wanted to ensure a coherent course, which required that a lesson on, for instance, social science research designs was included.

  • Changes to diversity challenges

We observed that the first challenge, attendance, improved markedly during the intervention. Almost all the students registered for the course participated in the first lesson and this number remained steady throughout the intervention, as opposed to earlier semesters. Comments in the midway evaluation and final evaluation of the course suggests that the students found the course topics relevant, indicating the usefulness in planning course content informed by the readiness survey.

Figure 2.

Student self-evaluation of statistical competencies prior to the intervention

Figure 3.

Student self-evaluation of survey competencies prior to the intervention

Secondly, lack of engagement improved as well, compared to previous semesters. From our own observations, the students were much more active and committed during lessons. We noted an increase in the number of relevant questions to the teacher during plenary sessions, lively student discussions during group exercises, and their presentations of group discussions and exercises demonstrated that they were taking the task seriously. The presentations also revealed that some groups had time to complete the bonus questions, whereas other groups had only or barely finished the mandatory questions, demonstrating the usefulness in providing different levels of exercises. During the midway evaluation, students expressed that the group exercises in general were very beneficial, as it helped them internalise the curriculum. Furthermore, they remarked that the supplemental readings were helpful, especially for those who considered the textbook too difficult.

The change in attendance and engagement also suggests that they felt challenged enough by the curriculum and exercises to stay engaged, giving them an incentive to show up for class and participate actively, but not so challenged that they became detached. This observation is substantiated by the midway evaluation, which shows that the six lessons included in the intervention were perceived as academically challenging, but that it was possible to keep up based on readings, lessons and exercises. However, both in the midway and final evaluations, some students noted that the course was very (and perhaps too) compact, as the course covered a lot of material within a limited number of lessons.

Finally, the third challenge, that only a subgroup of students achieve the learning outcomes, seemed to change for the better. After the intervention, the study board's evaluation of the course showed increased satisfaction with the academic level and curriculum. The readiness survey, which we repeated after completing the intervention, also showed that there was progress in the students’ self-evaluation of competencies. For instance, Figure 4 illustrates that approximately 55 per cent of students reported feeling well equipped to conduct descriptive statistics after completing the course, compared to approximately 10 per cent prior to the course ( Figure 2 ).

Figure 5 shows that after the intervention the percentage of students that feel well equipped to conduct surveys increased to almost 82 per cent, compared to the very mixed levels of self-reported survey competencies prior to the intervention, see Figure 3 .

However, the post-intervention survey responses come with great uncertainty and should be interpreted with caution. Only twenty-two completed the survey after the intervention, making the post-intervention survey responses much less representative and potentially biased. The drop in response rate could be due to general course fatigue, that they were engaged in exams at this point and survey overload, as the students also had to fill out an evaluation of the course from the study board.

Figure 4.

Student self-evaluation of statistical competencies after the intervention

The implementations made as part of the intervention can be categorised into three aspects: ‘explication of learning outcomes’, ‘session restructuring based on ILOs and student feedback’ and ‘differentiation based on readiness assessment’.

First, we explicated the learning outcomes by providing the students with a written introduction to the cluster session. This contained access to the Peergrade system and instructions that each group should submit a brief introduction to their project, while each individual student should provide feedback to one randomly assigned group based on a rubric. It also contained detailed information about the ILOs for the session. It was articulated that the purpose of the session is threefold: ‘(1) A chance to learn by giving other students feedback (it is empirically proven that students learn more from giving feedback than from receiving it); (2) A place to get inspiration for your own project; and (3) A place to get feedback on your project’. Finally, the students were instructed to consider how they provide feedback and given information about what can be considered ‘good’ and ‘bad’ feedback.

Figure 5.

Student self-evaluation of survey competencies after the intervention

Second, we restructured the session, based on the ILOs and the student feedback collected through Peergrade. As mentioned, the cluster sessions had previously been based on oral group-to-group feedback, which in practice meant that each group often only received in-depth feedback from one other group. With the intervention, students were required to provide individual feedback, rather than group feedback, which meant that each group received in-depth written feedback from an average of three different, randomly selected, individuals. The starting point for the session in the intervention is the written feedback as well as the explicit change in focus from what can be gained by receiving feedback to also include what can be gained from giving it.

During the intervention, the session progressed as follows: The students were given a brief introductory ‘lecture’. The student groups each gave a brief (three to five minute) presentation of their project idea. The student groups were asked to read the written feedback they had received, discuss and evaluate it, and answer the following questions:

  • 1. What are three aspects of the feedback that were useful to you (why?)
  • 2. What were feedback elements that were less useful (why)?
  • 3. How will you change your project after this discussion?

This was followed with a discussion in plenum. Instead of using this time to present direct oral feedback to the other groups, the groups were asked to present and reflect on their answers to the questions above, while the other groups were asked to reflect and comment on these answers.

Third, our access to the students’ project introductions and individual feedback prior to the session allowed us to assess general, group and individual level of competency and ability to provide feedback. We used this information to inform the contents of the initial ‘lecture’ and to design talking points for each group. We designed the talking points by reading and comparing the submitted project introductions and the written feedback from other students. Talking points could, for example, ask students to reflect on their chosen methods, theoretical choices, and more. In cases where we found a good alignment between the level/quality of the content compared to the feedback given, no or few talking points were provided. In cases where the feedback was not adequate or indicated a gap in academic level between the content and feedback, we added more talking points. Each student group was provided with a customised handout containing the feedback they had received from other students and the talking points we had prepared. They were then asked to discuss and evaluate the feedback and to reflect on what relevant changes they should make to their project based on the feedback and the talking points. Because each student group received a customised handout and only saw their own talking points, they were not aware of which and how many talking points other groups had received. This meant that in instances of marked academic diversity – where the gap between content and feedback quality was too wide – the talking points could fill the gap, without the students’ awareness. In doing so, the student groups were each addressed at their level, while avoiding an obvious division into ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ students.

We addressed the lack of knowledge/recognition of ILOs by being more explicit about the benefits and learning outcomes of giving feedback and by restructuring the sessions to also focus on evaluation of the feedback given. We observed that this changed the students’ focus from exclusively how to improve their own project to also include the act of giving feedback. While this focus, in and of itself, did not vastly improve the students lack of feedback competency, the awareness of the importance of giving ‘good’ feedback, combined with improved knowledge of what constitutes ‘good’ feedback meant that students were more careful and constructive in their feedback delivery. This resulted not only in better feedback but also in an improved atmosphere among the students. Specifically, the improved atmosphere meant that there were no awkward or uncomfortable situations provoked by differences in academic level, when compared to similar sessions in previous years.

We addressed the lack of teacher proactiveness, through use of Peergrade to collect project presentations and feedback on these from students before the session. This allowed us to assess student readiness and act proactively to prevent potential diversity challenges. A key tool in doing so were the talking points, which were added to the feedback each group received. When evaluating the session, students specifically highlighted these as very useful, and we observed that the talking points silently limited the gap between students, as they all had points to discuss and were challenged at their own academic level. This, combined with the improved atmosphere mentioned above, contributed significantly to address the lack of purpose and fear of embarrassment that some students had felt. Finally, individual rather than group-based feedback addressed the lack of broad student involvement. The most talkative students would still dominate discussions at the sessions, but since all discussion was based on the written individual feedback, it was impossible not to involve perspectives from all students to some extent.

  • Discussion and conclusion: Potentials and challenges in using differentiated teaching in higher education

This article has demonstrated how differentiated teaching, especially pertaining to student readiness assessment and response, can be applied to address academic diversity in a higher education context. The results of such implementation include better fulfilment of intended learning outcomes, teaching that is perceived to be meaningful by students at varying academic levels, and a more inclusive learning environment. While the two cases represent typical student-teacher interactions in higher education, the difference in context and approach of the two cases begs the question of what more general lessons we can draw about the use of differentiated teaching.

Across our two cases, the variety of differentiated teaching approaches tested to address academic diversity in the two cases have proven useful. Specifically, the two cases demonstrate that assessing the students’ readiness level is a strong tool in a university setting. It provides the teacher with important knowledge about the experience and competencies of a group of students that makes it possible to proactively improve the process of teaching and supervising.

Moreover, each of our two cases have resulted in concrete and tested tools for assessing readiness in higher education that other university teachers can use and adjust to match their own classes and supervision: a survey questionnaire and rubrics. 4 The two cases can also be seen as a catalogue of ideas for how to differentiate the teaching, for example, providing customised talking points for feedback, varying the levels of student exercises and readings and planning lecture themes to match student experience.

There are two obvious counterarguments against using differentiated teaching in a university setting that need to be discussed in light of our findings. The first counterargument is that practicing differentiated teaching requires close interaction with and getting to know the students. For this reason, differentiated teaching has primarily been applied successfully in elementary and secondary education ( de Graaf et al. 2018 ; Ismajli and Imami-Morina 2018 ). This is not possible for university teachers with large student populations and few contact hours ( Ernst and Ernst 2005 ). However, the techniques we have applied in our two case studies for assessing student readiness – a short electronic survey for large groups of students and student feedback in Peergrade for smaller groups of students – do not require close and continued interaction. The two tools make it possible to gain the necessary readiness information from the students in a more anonymous and aggregated way that allows for planning variation in learning paths.

Second, we acknowledge that differentiated teaching requires an extra effort, which can pose a challenge to university teachers, where teaching is only one among several other tasks. Our two cases show how to make it manageable. Inspired by Chamberlin and Powers (2010) , we have started out small, focusing on a few relevant approaches rather than a revolutionary approach. It takes a relatively short time to prepare, collect and process the readiness information that the students provide electronically ahead of class. In many instances, the rubrics used in Peergrade and the questions developed for the survey can be re-used each semester for the same course or type of supervision. With regard to differentiating the teaching process, we have done this as a part of the normal task of preparing for class and supervision. However, the information from the readiness assessment might call for some changes from semester to semester. For instance, in the methods course, the readiness information from next semesters’ student group might require smaller changes in the level of student exercises as the composition of students change. In the cluster supervision case, it will be necessary to read not only the students’ submitted materials but also their feedback to each other to prepare differentiated talking points.

Our results should be used and interpreted with caution. We did not apply an experimental design and have no control group to compare with. In other words, although we believe that the changes we observed are a result of the differentiated teaching techniques, we cannot prove with complete certainty that this is the case. Moreover, although we strived to triangulate our results with different types of data, it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions based on survey data, student evaluations and the authors’ own observations. We thus encourage more scholars to test our techniques and other differentiated teaching approaches to further our knowledge on the validity and applicability of this pedagogy in a university setting. The goal of this study was to test how similar base principles of differentiated teaching can be successful in addressing diversity challenges in vastly different contexts. Future studies may also test various differentiation approaches, principles and tools in additional similar contexts to determine specific utility in specific situations.

Despite these limitations, we found that we as teachers and the students benefitted from the introduction of differentiated learning principles in many ways. For instance, the students were generally much more engaged compared to previous semesters. This benefits both teachers and students, resulting in more students achieving the learning outcomes and smoother sessions characterised by motivated students and a positive atmosphere. When faced with academically diverse groups of students, differentiated teaching has the potential to produce positive results that outweigh the added costs ( Chamberlin and Powers 2010 ; Ernst and Ernst 2005 ; Santangelo and Tomlinson 2009 ; Turner et al. 2017 ). Thus, our findings demonstrate the utility of differentiated teaching in higher education, challenging the prevailing assumption that differentiated teaching does not apply well to a university setting.

  • Acknowledgments

We would like to highlight that the two authors contributed equally to the study and the article. Sincere thanks to Professor Eva Bendix Petersen whose expert knowledge was essential to the study.

See Peergrade, https://www.peergrade.io/ (accessed 28 May 2021).

Figures and data for this statement and other responses on particular methods can be retrieved by contacting the authors. They have been excluded here to avoid an overload of figures.

Document studies constituted the last three out of the nine lectures, which were not a part of the intervention, as explained in the methods section. The readiness survey was used to decide on including that particular method in the course as part of the overall planning, but we do not evaluate on the results of these lessons.

Available from authors.

Andersen , A. S. and S. B. Heilesen ( 2015 ), The Roskilde Model: Problem-Oriented Learning and Project Work ( Cham : Springer International Publishing ).

  • Search Google Scholar
  • Export Citation

Boelens , R. , M. Voet and B. D. Wever ( 2018 ), ‘ The design of blended learning in response to student diversity in higher education: Instructors’ views and use of differentiated instruction in blended learning ’, Computers & Education 120 : 197 – 212 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.02.009 .

Chamberlin , M. and R. Powers ( 2010 ), ‘ The promise of differentiated instruction for enhancing the mathematical understandings of college students ’, Teaching Mathematics and Its Applications 29 , no. 3 : 113 – 139 . https://doi.org/10.1093/teamat/hrq006 .

Corno , L. ( 2008 ), ‘ On teaching adaptively ’, Educational Psychologist 43 , no. 3 : 161 – 173 . https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520802178466 .

Dack , H. ( 2019 ), ‘ The role of teacher preparation program coherence in supporting candidate appropriation of the pedagogical tools of differentiated instruction ’, Teaching and Teacher Education 78 : 125 – 140 . https://doi.org/10.1016/J.TATE.2018.11.011 .

de Graaf , A. , H. Westbroek and F. Janssen ( 2018 ), ‘ A practical approach to differentiated instruction: How biology teachers redesigned their genetics and ecology lessons ’, Journal of Science Teacher Education 30 , no. 1 : 6 – 23 . 10.1080/1046560X.2018.1523646.

Deunk , M. , S. Doolaard , A. Smale-Jacobse and R. Bosker . ( 2015 ), Differentiation within and across Classrooms: A Systematic Review of Studies into the Cognitive Effects of Differentiation Practices ( Groningen : GION, University of Groningen ).

Ernst , H. R. and T. L. Ernst ( 2005 ), ‘ The promise and pitfalls of differentiated instruction for undergraduate political science courses: Student and instructor impressions of an unconventional teaching strategy ’, Journal of Political Science Education 1 , no. 1 : 39 – 59 . https://doi.org/10.1080/15512160590907513 .

Fry , H. , S. Ketteridge and S. Marshall ( 2008 ), A Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Enhancing Academic Practice , 3rd ed. ( New York : Routledge ).

Grossman , P. L. , P. Smagorinsky and S. Valencia ( 1999 ), ‘ Appropriating tools for teaching English: A theoretical framework for research on learning to teach ’, American Journal of Education 108 : 1 – 29 . https://doi.org/10.2307/1085633 .

Grossman , P. L. , S. Valencia , K. Evans , C. Thompson , S. Martin and N. Place ( 2000 ), ‘ Transitions into teaching: Learning to teach writing in teacher education and beyond ’, Journal of Literacy Research 32 , no. 4 : 631 – 662 . https://doi.org/10.1080/10862960009548098 .

Ismajli , H. and I. Imami-Morina ( 2018 ), ‘ Differentiated instruction: Understanding and applying interactive strategies to meet the needs of all the students ’, International Journal of Instruction 11 , no. 3 : 207 – 218 . https://doi.org/10.12973/iji.2018.11315a .

Pashler , H. , M. Mcdaniel , D. Rohrer and R. Bjork ( 2009 ), ‘ Learning styles concepts and evidence ’, Psychological Science in the Public Interest 9 , no. 3 : 105 – 119 . https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6053.2009.01038.x .

Pham , H. L. ( 2011 ), ‘ Differentiated instruction and the need to integrate teaching and practice ’, Journal of College Teaching & Learning (TLC) 9 , no. 1 : 13 – 20 . https://doi.org/10.19030/tlc.v9i1.6710 .

Ramburuth , P. and J. McCormick ( 2001 ), ‘ Learning diversity in higher education: A comparative study of Asian international and Australian students ’, Higher Education 42 no. 3 : 333 – 350 . https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1017982716482 .

Santangelo , T. and C. A. Tomlinson ( 2009 ), ‘ The application of differentiated instruction in postsecondary environments: Benefits, challenges, and future directions ’, International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 20 , no. 3 : 307 – 324 .

Sherman , S. C. ( 2009 ), ‘ Haven't we seen this before? Sustaining a vision in teacher education for progressive teaching practice ’, Teacher Education Quarterly 36 , no. 4 : 41 – 60 . https://doi.org/10.2307/23479283 .

Tomlinson , C. A. ( 1999 ), The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners ( Alexandria, VA : Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development ).

Tomlinson , C. A. ( 2014 ), The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners , 2nd ed. ( Alexandria, VA : Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development ).

Tomlinson , C. A. ( 2017 ), How to Differentiate Instruction in Academically Diverse Classrooms ( Alexandria, VA : Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development ).

Tomlinson , C. A. , C. Brighton , H. Hertberg , C. M. Callahan , T. R. Moon , K. Brimijoin , L. A. Conover and T. Reynolds ( 2003 ), ‘ Differentiating instruction in response to student readiness, interest, and learning profile in academically diverse classrooms: A review of literature ’, Journal for the Education of the Gifted 27 , no. 2–3 : 119 – 145 . https://doi.org/10.1177/016235320302700203 .

Tomlinson , C. A. and M. B. Imbeau ( 2013 ), ‘ Differentiated instruction ’, in B. J. Irby , G. Brown , R. Lara-Alecio and S. Jackson (eds), The Handbook of Educational Theories ( Charlotte, NC : Information A ), 1097 – 1117 .

Tomlinson , C. A. and T. R. Moon ( 2013 ), Assessment and Student Success in a Differentiated Classroom ( Alexandria, VA : Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development ).

Turner , W. D. , O. J. Solis and D. H. Kincade ( 2017 ), ‘ Differentiating instruction for large classes in higher education ’, International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 29 , no. 3 : 490 – 500 .

Contributor Notes

Matias Thuen Jørgensen is Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Sciences and Business, Roskilde University, Denmark. Matias's research mainly focuses on the tourism phenomenon and sector. He teaches marketing management and supervises students enrolled in business programmes at both the master and bachelor level. He continuously works to develop and refine his pedagogical approach. E-mail: [email protected]

Lena Brogaard is Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences and Business, Roskilde University, Denmark. Lena's research focuses on public-private collaboration and contracting out. She teaches and supervises undergraduate and graduate students in quantitative methods, evidence and performance measurement in the public sector as well as marketisation. She is continuously working to develop her teaching strategies and pedagogical approach to enhance student learning. E-mail: [email protected]

  • Share on facebook Share on linkedin Share on twitter

Learning and Teaching

The international journal of higher education in the social sciences.

Cover Learning and Teaching

Article Information

Issue table of contents, section headings.

  • View raw image
  • Download Powerpoint Slide

differentiated instruction higher education

Google Scholar

  • Article by Matias Thuen Jørgensen
  • Article by Lena Brogaard
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 6229 2179 141
PDF Downloads 5334 1652 104
  • Accessibility
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Privacy Policy

© 2024 Berghahn Books

Powered by:

  • [195.158.225.230]
  • 195.158.225.230

Differentiated Instruction as an Approach to Establish Effective Teaching in Inclusive Classrooms

  • Open Access
  • First Online: 28 June 2023

Cite this chapter

You have full access to this open access chapter

differentiated instruction higher education

  • Esther Gheyssens   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-4871-6780 4 , 5 ,
  • Júlia Griful-Freixenet   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-9317-9617 5 , 6 &
  • Katrien Struyven   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-6562-2172 5 , 7  

14k Accesses

Differentiated Instruction has been promoted as a model to create more inclusive classrooms by addressing individual learning needs and maximizing learning opportunities. Whilst differentiated instruction was originally interpreted as a set of teaching practices, theories now consider differentiated instruction rather a pedagogical model with philosophical and practical components than the simple act of differentiating. However, do teachers also consider differentiated instruction as a model of teaching? This chapter is based on a doctoral thesis that adopted differentiated instruction as an approach to establish effective teaching in inclusive classrooms. The first objective of the dissertation focused on how differentiated instruction is perceived by teachers and resulted in the DI-Quest model. This model, based on a validated questionnaire towards differentiated instruction, pinpoints different factors that explain differences in the adoption of differentiated instruction. The second objective focused on how differentiated instruction is implemented. This research consisted of four empirical studies using two samples of teachers and mixed method. The results of four empirical studies of this dissertation are discussed and put next to other studies and literature about differentiation. The conclusions highlight the importance of teachers’ philosophy when it comes to implementing differentiated instruction, the importance of perceiving and implementing differentiated instruction as a pedagogical model and the importance and complexity of professional development with regard to differentiated instruction.

You have full access to this open access chapter,  Download chapter PDF

Similar content being viewed by others

differentiated instruction higher education

Differentiated Instruction, Perceptions and Practices

differentiated instruction higher education

Measuring differentiated instruction in The Netherlands and South Korea: factor structure equivalence, correlates, and complexity level

Defining differentiation in cyber schools: what online teachers say.

  • Differentiated instruction
  • Effective teaching
  • Inclusive classrooms

1 Introduction

Differentiated Instruction (DI) has been promoted as a model to facilitate more inclusive classrooms by addressing individual learning needs and maximizing learning opportunities (Gheyssens et al., 2020c ). DI aims to establish maximal learning opportunities by differentiating the instruction in terms of content, process, and product in accordance with students their readiness, interests and learning profiles (Tomlinson, 2017 ). This chapter is based on a doctoral thesis that adopted DI as an approach to establish effective teaching in inclusive classrooms. This doctoral dissertation consisted of four empirical studies towards the conceptualisation and implementation of DI (Gheyssens, 2020 ). This chapter summarizes the most important results of this dissertation and includes three parts. First the conceptualisation of DI is discussed. Second, we discuss literature findings regarding the effectiveness of DI. Third, the results of the studies about the implementation of DI are discussed. Finally, based on the previous parts some recommendations for implementation are presented.

2 Conceptualisation of Differentiated Instruction

2.1 defining differentiated instruction.

Differentiated instruction (DI) is an approach that aims to meet the learning needs of all students in mixed ability classrooms by establishing maximal learning and differentiating instruction with regard to content, process and product in accordance with student needs in terms of their readiness (i.e., student’s proximity to specified learning goal), interests (i.e., passions, affinities that motivate learning) and learning profiles (i.e., preferred approaches to learning) (Tomlinson, 2014 ). Whilst DI was originally interpreted as a set of teaching practices or simplified as the act of differentiating (e.g. van Kraayenoord, 2007 ; Tobin, 2006 ), it is evolved towards a pedagogical model with philosophical and practical components (Gheyssens, 2020 ). This model is rooted in the belief that diversity is present in every classroom and that teachers should adjust their education accordingly (Tomlinson, 1999 ). Tomlinson ( 2017 ) states that DI is an approach where teachers are proactive and focus on common goals for each student by providing them with multiple options in anticipation of and in response to differences in readiness, interest, and learning needs (Tomlinson, 2017 ). From this perspective, differentiation refers to an educational process where students are made accountable for their abilities, talents, learning pace, and personal interests (Op ‘t Eynde, 2004 ). This means that teachers proactively plan varied activities addressing what students need to learn, how they will learn it, and how they show what they have learned. This increases the likelihood that each student will learn as much as he or she can as efficiently as possible (Tomlinson, 2005 ). Moreover, DI emphasizes the needs of both advanced and struggling learners in mixed-ability classroom. In more detail, Bearne ( 2006 ) and Tomlinson ( 1999 ) consider differentiation as an approach to teaching in which teachers proactively adjust curricula, teaching methods, resources, learning activities and student product so that various student’s needs are satisfied (individuals or small groups) and every student is provided with maximum learning opportunities (in Tomlinson et al., 2003 ).

2.2 The DI-Quest Model

Considering DI as a pedagogical model rather than as a set of teaching strategies became also clear in the validity study of Coubergs et al. ( 2017 ) when they tried to measure DI empirically. Their research resulted in the so-called ‘DI-Quest model’, based on the DI-questionnaire the researchers developed for investigating DI. This model pinpoints different factors that explain differences in the adoption of differentiated instruction (Coubergs et al., 2017 ). It was inspired by the differentiated instruction model developed by Tomlinson ( 2014 ), which presents a step by step process demonstrating how a teacher moves from thinking about DI toward implementing it in the classroom. According to this model, the teacher can differentiate content, process, product, and environments to respond to different needs in learning based on students’ readiness, learning profiles, and interests. Tomlinson ( 2014 ) also stipulates that, to respond adequately to students’ learning needs, teachers should apply general classroom principles such as respectful tasks, flexible grouping, and ongoing assessment and adjustment. In contrast with Tomlinson’s well-known DI model, which also contains concepts relating to good teaching, the DI-Quest model distinguishes teachers who use DI less often from those who use it more often (Gheyssens et al., 2020c ). The DI-Quest model comprises five factors. The five factors are presented in three categories. The key factor, similar to Tomlinson’s ( 2014 ) model, is adapting teaching to students’ readiness, interests, and learning profiles. This is the main factor because it represents the ‘core business’ of differentiating: the teachers adapt his/her teaching to three essential differences in learning. The second and third factors represent DI as a philosophy. The fourth and fifth factor represent differentiated strategies in the classroom (Fig. 30.1 ). Below the figure the different factors are discussed on detail.

A D I-Quest model. It has a bidirectional relation between teachers with a growth mindset and ethical compass and students adapting teaching to interests, readiness, and learning profiles. A cyclic relation in the classroom of flexible grouping and output = input helps in gaining maximum learning.

The DI-Quest model

2.2.1 Adaptive Teaching

Adaptive teaching illustrates that the teacher provides various options to enable students to acquire information, digest, and express their understanding in accordance with their readiness, interests, and learning profiles (Tomlinson, 2001 ). Differences in learning profiles are described by Tomlinson and colleagues ( 2003 , p. 129) as “a student’s preferred mode of learning that can be affected by a number of factors, including learning style, intelligence preference and culture.” Applying different learning profiles positively influences the effectiveness of learning because students get the opportunity to lean the way they learn best. Responding to student interests also appears to be related to more positive learning experiences, both in the short and long term (Woolfolk, 2010 ; Tomlinson et al., 2003 ). Ryan and Deci ( 2000 ) claimed that understanding what motivates students will help develop interest, joy, and perseverance during the learning process. Thus, investing in differences in interests increases learning motivation among students. Taking account of students’ readiness can also lead to higher academic achievement. Readiness focuses on differences arising from a student’s learning position relative to the learning goals that are to be attained (Woolfolk, 2010 ). When taking students’ readiness into account enables every student to attain the learning objectives in accordance with their learning pace and position (Gheyssens et al., 2021 ).

2.2.2 Philosophy of DI

The first philosophical factor to consider is the ‘growth mindset’. Tomlinson ( 2001 ) addressed the concept of mindset in her DI model by stating that a teacher’s mindset can affect the successful implementation of differentiated instruction (Sousa & Tomlinson, 2011 ). Teachers with a growth mindset set high goals for their students and believe that every student is able to achieve success when they show commitment and engagement (Dweck, 2006 ). The second philosophical factor is the ‘ethical compass’. This envisions the use of curriculum, textbooks, and other external influences as a compass for teaching rather than observations of the student (Coubergs et al., 2017 ; Tomlinson & Imbeau, 2010 ). An ethical compass that focuses on the student embodies the development of meaningful learning outcomes, devises assessments in line with these, and creates engaging lesson plans designed to enhance students’ proficiency in achieving their learning goals (Tomlinson & Imbeau, 2010 ). Research on self-reported practices demonstrated that teachers with an overly rigid adherence to a curriculum that does not take students’ needs into account, report to adopt less adaptive teaching practices (Coubergs et al., 2017 ; Gheyssens et al., 2020c ).

2.2.3 Differentiated Classroom Practices

The next factor is the differentiated practice to be explained is ‘flexible grouping’. Switching between homogeneous and heterogeneous groups helps students to progress based on their abilities (when in homogeneous groups) and facilitates learning through interaction (when in heterogeneous groups) (Whitburn, 2001 ). Given that the aim of differentiated instruction is to provide maximal learning opportunities for all students, variation between homogeneous and heterogeneous teaching methods is essential. Coubergs et al. ( 2017 ) found that combining different forms of flexible grouping positively predicts the self-reported use of adaptive teaching in accordance with differences in learning. The final factor in the DI-Quest model is the differentiated practice ‘Output = input.’ This factor represents the importance of using output from students (such as information from conversations, tasks, evaluation, and classroom behaviour) as a source of information. This output of students is input for the learning process of the students themselves by providing them with feedback. But this output is also crucial input for the teacher in terms of information about how students react to his/her teaching (Hattie, 2009 ). Assessment and feedback are not the final steps in the process of teaching, but they are an essential part of the process of teaching and learning (Gijbels et al., 2005 ). In this regard, Coubergs et al. ( 2017 ) state that including feedback as an essential aspect of learning positively predicts the self-reported use of adaptive teaching.

3 Effectiveness of Differentiated Instruction

Several studies dealing with the effectiveness of DI have demonstrated a positive impact on student achievement (e.g. Beecher & Sweeny, 2008 ; Endal et al., 2013 ; Mastropieri et al., 2006 ; Reis et al., 2011 ; Smale-Jacobse et al., 2019 ; Valiandes, 2015 ). However, while recent theories plead for a more holistic interpretation of DI, being a philosophy and a practice of teaching, empirical studies on the impact on student learning are often limited to one aspect of DI, e.g. ability grouping, tiering, heterogenous grouping, individualized instruction, mastery learning or another specific operationalization of DI (e.g. Bade & Bult, 1981 ; Tomlinson, 1999 ; Vanderhoeven, 2004 ; Smale-Jacobse et al., 2019 ). Often studies on DI are also fragmented in studies on ability grouping, tiering, heterogenous grouping, individualized instruction, mastery learning or another specific operationalization of DI (Coubergs et al., 2013 ; Smale-Jacobse et al., 2019 ). Although effectiveness can be found for most of these operationalisations, overall the evidence is limited and sometimes even inconclusive (e.g. evidence of the benefits on ability grouping). Indeed research indicates that DI has the power to benefit students’ learning. However, this might not always be the case for all students. For example Reis and colleagues demonstrated that at-risk students are most likely to benefit from DI (e.g. Reis et al., 2011 ). By contrast, experimental research on DI by Valiandes ( 2015 ) showed that although the socioeconomic status of students correlated with their initial performance, it had no effect on their progress. This confirmed that DI can maximize learning outcomes for all students regardless of their socioeconomic background. It also depends on how DI is implemented, for example the effects of ability grouping may differ for subgroups of students (Coubergs et al., 2013 ). A recent review on DI concluded that studies of effectiveness of DI overall report small to medium-sized positive effects of DI on student achievement. However, the authors of this study plead for more empirical studies towards the effectiveness of DI on both academic achievement and affective students’ outcomes, such as attitudes and motivation (Smale-Jacobse et al., 2019 ).

4 Implementation of Differentiated Instruction

Differentiated instruction is often presented in a fragmented fashion in studies. For example, it can be defined as a specific set of strategies (Bade & Bult, 1981 ; Woolfolk, 2010 ) or studies with regard to the effectiveness of DI often focus on specific differentiated classroom actions, rather than on DI as a whole-classroom approach (Smale-Jacobse et al., 2019 ). Moreover, DI is not only in studies fragmented defined and investigated, DI is also perceived by teachers in a fragmented way (Gheyssens, 2020 ). For example, using mixed methods, this study explored to what degree differentiated practices are implemented by primary school teachers in Flanders (Gheyssens et al., 2020a ). Data were gathered by means of three different methods, which are compared: teachers’ self-reported questionnaires (N = 513), observed classroom practices and recall interviews (N = 14 teachers). The results reveal that there is not always congruence between the observed and self-reported practices. Moreover, the study seeks to understand what encourages or discourages teachers to implement DI practices. It turns out that concerns about the impact on students and school policy are referred to by teachers as impediments when it comes to adopting differentiated practices in classrooms. On teacher level, some teachers expressed a feeling of powerlessness towards their teaching and have doubts if their efforts are good enough. On school level, a development plan was often missing which gave teachers the feeling that they are standing alone (Gheyssens et al., 2020a ). Other studies confirm that when beliefs about teaching and learning are different among various actors involved in a school, this can limit DI implementation (Beecher & Sweeny, 2008 ). However, we know form the DI-Quest model how important a teachers’ mindset is when it comes to implementing DI. In this specific study teachers were asked about both hindrances and encouragements to implement DI. Teachers only responded with hindrances. In addition, flexible grouping, which in theory is an ideal teaching format when it comes to differentiation, occurs often randomly in the classroom without the intention to differentiate. The researchers of this study concluded that teachers do not succeed in implementing DI to the fullest because their mindset about DI is not as advanced as their abilities to implement differentiated practices. These practices, such as flexible grouping for example, are often part of the curriculum. Moreover, also in teacher education programmes pre-service teachers are trained to use differentiated strategies. However, teacher education programmes approach DI mostly again as a set of teaching practices. Teaching a mindset is much more difficult and complicated. This focus on DI as only a practice and as a pedagogical model, like the DI-Quest model demonstrates, leads to partial implementation of DI. DI is then perceived as something teachers can do “sometimes” in their classrooms, rather than a pedagogical model that is embedded in the daily teaching and learning process (Gheyssens et al., 2020a ).

In other words, one aspect of DI is often implemented, one specific teaching format is applied, or one strategy is adopted to deal with one specific difference between learning. As a consequence, some aspects will be improved or some students will benefit from this approach, but the desired positive effects on the total learning process of all the students that theories about DI promise, will remain unforthcoming. Below some recommendations are listed to implement DI more as a pedagogical model and less fragmented.

4.1 Importance of the Teachers’ Philosophy

Review studies which investigated the effectiveness and implementation of specific operationalizations of DI (for example grouping) report small to medium effects on student achievement (Coubergs et al., 2013 ; Smale-Jacobse et al., 2019 ). Although theories recommend approaching DI as a holistic concept, the effectiveness of such a holistic approach on student learning has, to our knowledge, not yet been investigated. We emphasize the importance of presenting and perceiving DI as a pedagogical model that is regarded as a philosophy of teaching and a collection of teaching practices (Tomlinson, 2017 ). Thus, DI is considered a pedagogical model that is influenced by teachers’ mindset and one which encourages teachers to be proactive, involves modifying curricula, teaching methods, resources, learning activities and student products in anticipation of, and response to, student differences in readiness, interests and learning profiles, in order to maximize learning opportunities for every student in the classroom (Coubergs et al., 2017 ; Tomlinson, 2017 ). In this regard we would also like to emphasize that these modifications do not necessary involve new teaching strategies and extra workload for teachers, but require that teachers shift their mindset and start acting more pro-actively, planned better and be more positive. In a study that investigated the effectiveness of a professional development programme about inclusive education on teachers’ implementation of differentiated instruction, teachers stated that after participating in the programme they did not necessarily adopt more differentiated practices, but they did the ones they used more thoroughly (Gheyssens et al., 2020b ). As demonstrated in the DI-Quest model, in order to implement DI as a pedagogical model, it is essential to start with the teachers’ philosophy. However, changing a philosophy does not come about overnight, but rather demands time and patience (Gheyssens, 2020 ).

4.2 Importance and Complexity of Professional Development

When DI becomes a pedagogical model that consists of both philosophy and practice components, and furthermore demands that teachers have a positive mindset towards DI in order to implement DI effectively, professional development for some teachers is necessary to strengthen their competences and to support them in embedding DI in their classrooms. Depending on the current mindset of the teacher, some will need more support, while for other teachers differentiating comes naturally. However, if we want teachers to implement DI as a pedagogical model and not just as fragmented practices, teachers need to be prepared and supported. Professional development is essential for teachers to respond adequately to the changing needs of students during their careers (Keay & Lloyd, 2011 ; EADSNE, 2012 ). However, professional development is also complex. The final study in the dissertation of Gheyssens ( 2020 ) investigated the effectiveness of a professional development programme (PDP) aimed at strengthening the DI competences of teachers. A quasi-experimental design consisting of a pre-test, post-test, and control group was used to study the impact of the programme on teachers’ self-reported differentiated philosophies and practices. Questionnaires were collected from the experimental group (n = 284) and control group (n = 80) and pre- and post-test results were compared using a repeated measures ANOVA. Additionally, interviews with a purposive sample of teachers (n = 8) were conducted to explore teachers’ experiences of the PDP. The results show that the PDP was not effective in changing teachers’ DI competences. Multiple explanations are presented for the lack of improvement such as treatment fidelity, the limitations of instruments, and the necessary time investment (Gheyssens et al., 2020b ).

We found similar information in other studies. For example Brighton et al. ( 2005 ) stated that the biggest challenge for most teachers is that DI questions their previous beliefs. This ties in with our emphasis on teachers’ mindset. To participate in professional development, teachers need to have/keep an open mind in order to respond to new forms of diversity and new opportunities for collaborating with colleagues. Although continued professional development is necessary and important for teachers, it is a complex process. We refer to the work of Merchie et al. ( 2016 ) who identified nine characteristics of effective professional development, with one of them being that the supervisor is of high quality and is competent when it comes to giving and receiving constructive feedback and imparting other coaching skills (Merchie et al., 2016 ). Literature states that professional development is only successful if teachers are active participants, if they have a voice in what and how they learn things, and if the PDP is tailored to the specific context (Merchie et al., 2016 ). However, PDP often works towards a specific goal which is not always very flexible. A suitable coach is able to find a balance between these two extremes. Or, specifically within inquiry-based learning as an example, the coach needs to find the fragile balance between telling the teachers what to do, and letting them find their own answers. Finding such a balance and guiding teachers towards looking for and finding the answers they need is important if we wish to establish the desired improvement we want to see in teachers’ professional development. In this regard, Willegems et al. ( 2016 ) plead for the role of a broker as a bridge-maker in professional development trajectories, in addition to the role of coach (Willegems et al., 2016 ).

4.3 Importance of Collaboration

In addition, collaboration is indeed essential for effective professionalisation (Merchie et al., 2016 ) and beneficial for DI implementation (De Neve et al., 2015 ; Latz & Adams, 2011 ). In a professional development study where inquiry-based learning was applied to teams of teachers at schools, teachers reported positive experiences in discussing their individual learning activities, and during the programme became aware of the need to work together on the collective development of knowledge in the school. They all agreed that to implement DI they needed to collaborate more. A common school vision and policy is necessary for the implementation of specific differentiated measures, as these currently differ between teachers and grades, and can be confusing for students. This is consistent with previous research that states that collaboration is crucial for creating inclusive classrooms (Hunt et al., 2002 ; Mortier et al., 2010 ; EADSNE, 2012 ; Claasen et al., 2009 ; Mitchel, 2014 ). A first step in this process is realising that collaboration is beneficial for both teachers and students (EADSNE, 2012 ).

5 Conclusion

The chapter summarizes a doctoral dissertation that started with the assumption from theory that differentiated instruction can be adopted to create more inclusive classrooms. Theories describe DI as both a teaching practice and a philosophy, but the concept is rarely measured as such. Empirical evidence about the effectiveness and operationalisation of differentiating is limited. The general aim of this research was to gain a more in-depth understanding of the concept of DI. This main aim was subdivided into two objectives. The first objective focused on how DI is perceived by teachers and resulted in the DI-Quest model. The second objective focused on how DI is implemented. Four empirical studies were conducted to address these objectives. Two different samples spread over three years were adopted (1302 teachers in study 1 and 1522 teachers in studies 2, 3 and 4) and mixed methods were applied to investigate these research goals. In this chapter the results of these studies were put next to other studies and literature about differentiation. The conclusions highlight the importance of teachers’ philosophy when it comes to implementing DI, the importance of perceiving and implementing DI as a pedagogical model and the importance and complexity of professional development with regard to DI. Overall, the authors of this dissertation conclude that DI can be as promising as theories say when it comes to creating inclusive classrooms, but at the same time their research illustrated that the reality of DI in classrooms, is far more complex than the theories suggest.

Bade, J., & Bult, H. (1981). De praktijk van interne differentiatie. Handboek voor de leraar . Uitgeverij Intro Nijkerk.

Google Scholar  

Bearne, E. (2006). Differentiation and diversity in the primary school . Routledge.

Beecher, M., & Sweeny, S. M. (2008). Closing the achievement gap with curriculum enrichment and differentiation: One school’s story. Journal of Advanced Academica, 19 (3), 502–530.

Article   Google Scholar  

Claasen, W., de Bruïne, E., Schuman, H., Siemons, H. & van Velthooven, B. (2009). Inclusief bekwaam. Generiek competentieprofiel inclusief onderwijs - LEOZ Deelproject 4 . Garant.

Brighton, C. M., Hertberg, H. L., Moon, T. R., Tomlinson, C. A., & Callahan, C. M. (2005). The feasibility of high-end learning in a diverse middle school . National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.

Coubergs, C., Struyven, K., Engels, N., Cools, W., & De Martelaer, K. (2013). Binnenklasdifferentiatie. Leerkansen voor alle leerlingen . Acco.

Coubergs, C., Struyven, K., Vanthournout, G., & Engels, N. (2017). Measuring teachers’ perceptions about differentiated instruction: The DI-Quest instrument and model. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 53 , 41–54.

De Neve, D., Devos, G., & Tuytens, M. (2015). The importance of job resources and self-efficacy for beginning teachers’ professional learning in differentiated instruction. Teaching and Teacher Education, 47 , 30–41.

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success . Random House.

EADSNE (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education). (2012). Lerarenopleiding en inclusie. Profiel van inclusieve leraren . European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education.

Endal, G., Padmadewi, N., & Ratminingsih, M. (2013). The effect of differentiated instruction and achievement motivation on students’ writing competency. Journal Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris , 1 .

Gheyssens, E. (2020). Adopting differentiated instruction to create inclusive classrooms . Crazy Copy Center Productions.

Gheyssens, E., Consuegra, E., Vanslambrouck, S., Engels, N., & Struyven, K. (2020a). Differentiated instruction in practice: Do teachers walk the talk? Pedagogische Studieën, 97 , 163–186.

Gheyssens, E., Consuegra, E., Engels, N., & Struyven, K. (2020b). Good things come to those who wait: The importance of professional development for the implementation of differentiated instruction. Frontiers in Education, 5 , 96.

Gheyssens, E., Coubergs, C., Griful-Freixenet, J., Engels, N., & Struyven, K. (2020c). Differentiated instruction: The diversity of teachers’ philosophy and practice to adapt teaching to students’ interests, readiness and learning profiles. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 26 , 1383.

Gheyssens, E., Consuegra, E., Engels, N., & Struyven, K. (2021). Creating inclusive classrooms in primary and secondary schools: From noticing to differentiated practices. Teaching and Teacher Education, 100 , 103210.

Gijbels, D., Dochy, F., Van den Bossche, P., & Segers, M. (2005). Effects of problem-based learning: A meta-analysis from the angle of assessment. Review of Educational Research, 75 (1), 27–61.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement . Taylor & Francis Ltd.

Hunt, P., Soto, G., Maier, J., Müller, E., & Goetz, L. (2002). Collaborative teaming to support students with augmentative and alternative communication needs in general education classrooms. AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 18 (1), 20–35.

Keay, J. K., & Lloyd, C. M. (2011). Developing inclusive approaches to learning and teaching. In J. K. Keay & C. M. Lloyd (Eds.), Linking children’s learning with professional learning. Impact, evidence and inclusive practice (pp. 31–44). Sense Publishers.

Chapter   Google Scholar  

Latz, A. O., & Adams, C. M. (2011). Critical differentiation and the twice oppressed: Social class and giftedness. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 34 (5), 773–789.

Mastropieri, M. A., Scruggs, T. E., Norland, J. J., Berkeley, S., McDuffie, K., Tornquist, E. H., & Connors, N. (2006). Differentiated curriculum enhancement in inclusive middle school science effects on classroom and high-stakes tests. The Journal of Special Education, 40 (3), 130–137.

Merchie, E., Tuytens, M., Devos, G., & Vanderlinde, R. (2016). Evaluating teachers’ professional development initiatives: Towards an extended evaluative framework. Research Papers in Education, 33 , 1–26.

Mitchel, D. (2014). What really works in special and inclusive education. Using evidence-based teaching strategies (2nd ed.). Routledge.

Book   Google Scholar  

Mortier, K., Van Hove, G., & De Schauwer, E. (2010). Supports for children with disabilities in regular education classrooms: An account of different perspectives in Flanders. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 14 (6), 543–561.

Op ‘t Eynde. (2004). Leren doe je nooit alleen: differentiatie als een sociaal gebeuren. Impuls, 35 (1), 4–13.

Reis, S. M., McCoach, D. B., Little, C. A., Muller, L. M., & Kaniskan, R. B. (2011). The effects of differentiated instruction and enrichment pedagogy on reading achievement in five elementary schools. American Educational Research Journal, 48 (2), 462–501.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and Well-being. American Psychologist, 55 (1), 68.

Smale-Jacobse, A. E., Meijer, A., Helms-Lorenz, M., & Maulana, R. (2019). Differentiated instruction in secondary education: A systematic review of research evidence. Frontiers in Psychology, 10 , 2366.

Sousa, D. A., & Tomlinson, C. A. (2011). Differentiation and the brain: How neuroscience supports the learner – Friendly classroom . Solution Tree Press.

Tobin, R. (2006). Five ways to facilitate the teacher assistant’s work in the classroom. Teaching Exceptional Children Plus, 2 (6), n6.

Tomlinson, C. A. (1999). The differentiated classroom. Responding to the needs of all learners . ASCD.

Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms . Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Tomlinson, C. A. (2005). Grading and differentiation: Paradox or good practice? Theory Into Practice, 44 (3), 262–269.

Tomlinson, C. A. (2014). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners . ASCD.

Tomlinson, C. A. (2017). How to differentiate instruction in academically diverse classrooms . ASCD.

Tomlinson, C. A., & Imbeau, M. B. (2010). Leading and managing a differentiated classroom . ASCD.

Tomlinson, C. A., Brighton, C., Hertberg, H., Callahan, C. M., Moon, T. R., Brimijoin, K., Conover, L. A., & Reynolds, T. (2003). Differentiating instruction in response to student readiness, interest and learning profile in academically diverse classrooms: A review of the literature. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 27 (2/3), 119–145.

Valiandes, S. (2015). Evaluating the impact of differentiated instruction on literacy and reading in mixed ability classrooms: Quality and equity dimensions of education effectiveness. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 45 , 17–26.

van Kraayenoord, C. E. (2007). School and classroom practices in inclusive education in Australia. Childhood Education, 83 (6), 390–394.

Vanderhoeven, J. L. (2004). Positief omgaan met verschillen in de leeromgeving. Een visie op differentiatie en gelijke kansen in authentieke middenscholen . Uitgeverij Antwerpen.

Whitburn, J. (2001). Effective classroom organisation in primary schools: Mathematics. Oxford Review of Education, 27 (3), 411–428.

Willegems, V., Consuegra, E., Struyven, K., & Engels, N. (2016). How to become a broker: The role of teacher educators in developing collaborative teacher research teams. Educational Research and Evaluation, 22 (3–4), 173–193.

Woolfolk, A. (2010). Educational psychology . The Ohio State University: Pearson Education International.

Download references

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Esther Gheyssens

Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Aalst, Belgium

Esther Gheyssens, Júlia Griful-Freixenet & Katrien Struyven

Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Júlia Griful-Freixenet

Universiteit Hasselt, Hasselt, Belgium

Katrien Struyven

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Esther Gheyssens .

Editor information

Editors and affiliations.

Department of Teacher Education, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

Ridwan Maulana

Michelle Helms-Lorenz

Department of Education, University of York, York, UK

Robert M. Klassen

Rights and permissions

Open Access This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ ), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2023 The Author(s)

About this chapter

Gheyssens, E., Griful-Freixenet, J., Struyven, K. (2023). Differentiated Instruction as an Approach to Establish Effective Teaching in Inclusive Classrooms. In: Maulana, R., Helms-Lorenz, M., Klassen, R.M. (eds) Effective Teaching Around the World . Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-31678-4_30

Download citation

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-31678-4_30

Published : 28 June 2023

Publisher Name : Springer, Cham

Print ISBN : 978-3-031-31677-7

Online ISBN : 978-3-031-31678-4

eBook Packages : Education Education (R0)

Share this chapter

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

  • Publish with us

Policies and ethics

  • Find a journal
  • Track your research

ASU for You, learning resources for everyone

Sign In / Sign Out

  • News/Events
  • Arts and Sciences
  • Design and the Arts
  • Engineering
  • Future of Innovation in Society
  • Health Solutions
  • Nursing and Health Innovation
  • Public Service and Community Solutions
  • Sustainability
  • University College
  • Thunderbird School of Global Management
  • Polytechnic
  • Downtown Phoenix
  • Online and Extended
  • Lake Havasu
  • Research Park
  • Washington D.C.

Arizona State University

Differentiated Instruction for Equity in Higher Education

Session overview.

This video was part of the July 2021 REMOTE: The Connected Faculty Summit

Differentiated instruction is a viable asset-based approach that serves as an engine for learners who face systematic barriers in higher education. It is vital to ensure an equitable digital environment where each student receives relevant experiences that are aligned with their academic goals. This presentation provides an overview of strategies that engage students’ prior knowledge and supports their performance by differentiating the content, process, environment, and assessments using learning analytics provided by adaptive courseware.

Ruanda Garth-McCullough

Director of Program Development | Achieving the Dream

Dr. Garth-McCullough, the Director of Programs, leads the Every Learner Everywhere initiative at Achieving the Dream. Her expertise in CRT guides her equity-minded teaching and learning coaching.

Sarah Kinnison

Program Development Consultant | Achieving the Dream

Sarah Kinnison is a consultant for program development at Achieving the Dream, supporting the Every Learner Everywhere digital learning initiative to serve low-income, racially minoritized, and first-generation students in gateway courses by developing faculty development services for student success and equity-focused initiatives. Previously, Sarah served as researcher, writer and curriculum consultant for various educational organizations working to break down systemic barriers and expand the reach of educational excellence to all students. Her expertise in philosophy of education and pedagogy guides her work in developing and designing teaching and learning initiatives. Sarah views equity as a critical aspect of education that benefits learners of all backgrounds and society as a whole. Her work invites education professionals to bring greater awareness to students’ cultural identities as assets to leverage full learning capacity and self efficacy. Sarah earned her Masters in Education from University of Illinois, Chicago and her BA in Fundamentals/Philosophy of Education from The University of Chicago.

differentiated instruction higher education

Design, development and delivery resources for teaching online

Subscribe to our email list.

Best Colleges U.S. News Most Innovative 2018

  • Copyright & Trademark
  • Accessibility
  • Terms of Use
  • Contact ASU

Every Learner Everywhere

Differentiated Instruction for Equity in Higher Education

Differentiated Instruction for Equity in Higher Education thumbnail

Through intentionally equitable and inclusive practices in higher education, such as Differentiated Instruction, instructors play a crucial role in improving learning outcomes and increasing course completion and graduation rates for students who have historically and systematically faced barriers to an equitable education. Educators are encouraged to get to know their students individually and, while designing courses, align lessons according to academic strengths and needs, interests, and circumstances. By differentiating the content, process, and products for each student, faculty can meet learners where they are and optimally support their comprehension and attainment of course goals. This video will provide an introduction to differentiated instruction so that you can enhance the quality of your learning environment and enable every learner to engage in relevant and meaningful education.

Recommended citation:

Every Learner Everywhere (2020, June 25) Differentiated Instruction for Equity in Higher Education [Video] Every Learner Everywhere

Other Related Resources

Pillar Resource

2023 Annual Impact Report

Annual Impact Report Cover with female student on campus holding laptop.

February 2024

In this report, you can read about the network’s impact in the areas of services, thought leadership, and student engagement. In addition, we recap our 2023 network convening, introduce our new Equity First Organization partners, feature some of our student interns, and give readers a preview of what’s ahead for the network in 2024.

Planning for Academic Continuity

Students walking on campus with Academic Continuity Plan.

August 2023

This guide presents results from an analysis of 100 academic continuity plans at U.S. colleges and universities. The results form the basis for recommended academic continuity plan best practices, tools, and templates academic leaders can use to maintain a plan that can be used in both short-term and long-term circumstances.

Time for Class 2023

differentiated instruction higher education

This 2023 study – the largest and longest running study monitoring digital learning in higher education – aims to identify the differences between student and institutional stakeholder experiences and preferences to suggest ways institutions and solution providers can address these differences.

differentiated instruction higher education

Classroom Q&A

With larry ferlazzo.

In this EdWeek blog, an experiment in knowledge-gathering, Ferlazzo will address readers’ questions on classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues facing teachers. Send your questions to [email protected]. Read more from this blog.

Tips for Making Differentiated Instruction Manageable

differentiated instruction higher education

  • Share article

Today’s post wraps up a three-part series on differentiation in the classroom.

‘I Always Plan Backward’

Luisana González is currently serving dual-language students in Illinois in a 5th grade classroom. She is in her 19th year of teaching and has previously taught K-5 multilingual students in a resource position, 2nd grade sheltered education, and 2nd grade dual language:

In my experience, some of the most important elements of differentiating instruction in the classroom occur before launching a unit, lesson, or learning activity. Timely and frequent assessment practices and planning are essential when delivering effective differentiated instruction. Providing differentiated instruction is a multilayered process that requires teachers to be informed and prepared to meet the readiness levels and linguistic, academic, and learning needs of all students.

It is certainly a big task that requires habitual and diverse processes that encourage student agency and voice. The ultimate goal is to plan instruction that takes into account different modalities to facilitate new learning. Pre-assessment helps the planning process, so that we are able to implement methods that will support students throughout the learning process in order to advance learning. Of course, assessments continue to be an integral part throughout a unit of instruction to ensure that the learning events and methods are tailored to meet the students’ needs as they make progress in a unit of instruction.

I always plan backward, beginning with the end in mind. What and where is the finish line, and how can I make sure that all students can understand the end goal and the steps to get there? The data that I acquire prior to the implementation of a unit through pre-assessment opportunities guide the road map to the finish line. The stops along the way are determined and modified throughout as I learn more about how students are responding to the planned learning events and experiences.

In simplest terms, I habitually attempt to provide differentiation opportunities that are tiered from the get go. The simplest ways to do this are providing appropriate scaffolds to advance and stretch learning, building in higher-order thinking and learning tasks to support students at their level, and carefully curating leveled texts and other learning resources that foster learning and meet students at their level to achieve their highest potential throughout.

While differentiating instruction may feel like an overwhelming task, it becomes an easier and more natural job when we become experts in our students and in our content/subject matter, learning goals, and objectives. When we clearly define what it is that must be accomplished and how we can achieve it, then differentiation becomes more logical and instinctive.

Some of the differentiation strategies that I have found to be most effective in my classroom are small groups, strategic pairings, flipped learning, chunking lessons, kinesthetic learning, cooperative learning structures, sentence frames and stems, advance organizers, thinking maps, student choice, tiered lessons or learning activities, levels of questioning, building thinking tasks, and inquiry projects.

Careful planning for differentiation takes a lot of work, and I have been most successful at it when I have included other colleagues and my students in the process. The challenges of teaching are a true balancing act, and improving in differentiating instruction is always a work in progress.

The ultimate goal of differentiation is to advance learning for all students regardless of their readiness levels, backgrounds, and academic, linguistic, and social-emotional needs. As long as we understand and value this, then we are definitely on the right track. We all know that one size does not fit all in the classroom, and when we engage everyone in a collective effort to move forward in the continuum of learning, while maintaining engaging and relatable learning events and activities, we will make progress toward achievement for all.

theultimategoal

‘Content, Process, Product’

Latrese D. Younger is an education specialist in Virginia:

Differentiating instruction is all about altering the product, process, or content. When I taught ELA at the high school level, I remember feeling so frustrated by the multiple reading levels of the students within my urban classroom. My students’ reading levels ranged from primary to college level on a Lexile scale. I knew that if I was going to be an effective 9th grade ELA teacher, I would have to learn to make modifications to my lesson plans so that I wouldn’t have students either bored to death or feeling too far out of their zones of proximal development, which would inevitably lead to serious behavioral issues. I had to strike a balance in my classroom that honored all my learners and made each student feel seen and heard.

I’d come across this article on EdWeek that still may serve to demystify the differentiation process for teachers today. When you change the content, process, and product, you offer students the opportunity to access curriculum at their own pace.

Some of the easiest ways to do this in an ELA classroom is to provide students with an independent reading activity where only the Lexile scale is changed, not the content or topic. I used NewsELA to provide all students with an article on bubblegum, for example, printed at various Lexiles to accommodate all readers. A way to differentiate product and process at the same time is to give students choice boards where they are assessed on the same content but asked to demonstrate in various ways. For example, students could create a rap, poem, dance, essay, or podcast to demonstrate understanding of figurative language use in writing.

Giving all students the chance to demonstrate learning in a way that is meaningful, relevant, and reflective is truly what differentiates instruction. Taking into consideration various learning styles, schemas, and interests puts students at ease and encourages a sense of belonging. As educators, we affirm students and decry “they matter” when we intentionally design lessons that put their learning at the forefront, neglecting our own comfort (because differentiation can be messy and time consuming) for their well-being and greater outcomes.

givingallstudents

What Differentiation Looks Like

Teresa Amodeo is an ESL/language-acquisition program coordinator for District 302 in Illinois. She has a master’s in literacy, with endorsements in ESL, middle school (language arts concentration):

Differentiating instruction means variation in teaching and instructing. Differentiation is taking lessons for a whole group and adjusting learning on the needs of the individual student or small group. Differentiation is creating an objective from the whole group’s focus for the learner or small group to achieve at their needs. Differentiation is providing assessments and assignments in multiple ways to pertain to the students’ or small groups’ unique learning styles. Differentiating highlights students as whole individuals with uniqueness, rather than a whole group.

Differentiating instruction looks like talking aloud on various ways to solve a math problem and emphasizing to the student or small group that doing the one that makes sense to them is all that matters as long as they get the same solution. Differentiation is taking a text in ELA and making it audible for those who listen better to texts, simplifying for those who need to just see the point, and not getting overwhelmed by the extra pieces, or providing a leveled text appropriate to the small group and withholding the same focus and/or objective as the whole group.

Differentiation looks like reading groups, math groups, grouped lab tables for science, all with the same focus of the whole-group content, with adjusted objectives to achieve that focus with the needs of the student or small group at the forefront.

One specific example is focusing on cause and effect in ELA as a whole group and then providing various objectives in small-group rotations. For instance, Group A works on identifying the cause and the effect in a leveled text through pointing or highlighting, with guided support or modeling by the teacher. Group B explains the cause and effect from a whole-group reading with a partner. And Group C creates cause and effect scenarios after a given scenario or text, with the main focus of the cause and effect standard.

differentiatingteresa

Thanks to Latrese, Luisana, and Teresa for contributing their thoughts!

Today’s guests answered this question:

What does “differentiating instruction” mean to you, and what does it actually look like in the classroom?

In Part One , Isabel Becerra , Andrea Castellano , Kara Pranikoff, and Michelle Shory shared their ideas.

In Part Two , Marie Moreno, Ed.D., Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, and Cindy Garcia wrote their responses.

Consider contributing a question to be answered in a future post. You can send one to me at [email protected] . When you send it in, let me know if I can use your real name if it’s selected or if you’d prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.

You can also contact me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo .

Just a reminder; you can subscribe and receive updates from this blog via email . And if you missed any of the highlights from the first 12 years of this blog, you can see a categorized list here .

The opinions expressed in Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Sign Up for EdWeek Update

Edweek top school jobs.

School Setting Superimposed on Modern Community Head Profile Icons combined with an Abstract Geometric Pattern. Classroom management, early career teacher professional development.

Sign Up & Sign In

module image 9

differentiated instruction higher education

Chemistry Education Research and Practice

Fostering inclusive learning: customized kits in chemistry education and their influence on self-efficacy, attitudes and achievements.

ORCID logo

* Corresponding authors

a Department of Science Teaching, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel E-mail: [email protected]

b Science Teaching Department, Achva Academic College, Israel

Inclusion of a diverse group of students, both regular learners and learners with special needs in chemistry classrooms is an important goal of chemistry educators. However, alternative conceptions in chemistry among high-school students can be a barrier for completing the learning process in the classroom, especially in a heterogeneous class. This study aimed to examine differentiated instruction (DI) in a chemistry classroom. We evaluated how customized pedagogical kits (CPKs) for DI, which aim to overcome alternative conceptions found during chemistry instruction, affected students and teachers. This paper presents the findings of a mixed-method study that was conducted with 9 high-school chemistry teachers, and 551 chemistry students. We used a pre-post questionnaire to investigate the impact of CPKs on teachers’ and students’ self-efficacy beliefs and attitudes towards chemistry and differentiated instruction, in addition to students’ achievements. The findings indicated the significantly higher averages of self-efficacy beliefs and attitudes towards DI in chemistry among teachers and high-school students, in addition to the significantly higher performance of students in chemistry tasks after implementing CPKs in classrooms. Being aware of the limitations of DI, we discussed customized pedagogical kits as a means that can support better inclusion in chemistry education.

Article information

Download citation, permissions.

differentiated instruction higher education

E. Easa and R. Blonder, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract. , 2024, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D4RP00144C

To request permission to reproduce material from this article, please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page .

If you are an author contributing to an RSC publication, you do not need to request permission provided correct acknowledgement is given.

If you are the author of this article, you do not need to request permission to reproduce figures and diagrams provided correct acknowledgement is given. If you want to reproduce the whole article in a third-party publication (excluding your thesis/dissertation for which permission is not required) please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page .

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content .

Social activity

Search articles by author.

This article has not yet been cited.

Advertisements

  • Resource Collection
  • State Resources

Community for Adult Educators

  • Public Groups
  • Micro Groups
  • Recent Activity
  • English Language Acquisition
  • Discussions

Follow-up Dr. Katie Welch on Differentiating Instruction in a Mixed Ability Class

Hello colleagues, We had a great event with Dr. Katie Welch today July 10 focused on addressing the many needs in a multilevel classroom.  We all know that any adult ESOL class is multilevel. Some are just a lot more so than others! Meeting the needs of all the learners can be a tremendous challenge for teachers. Katie shared many practical ideas to make meeting those needs more manageable for teachers.   THANK YOU, KATIE!

Katie grounded her presentation in the work of Professor Carol Ann Tomlinson who explained differentiation in these words: "Differentiation is simply a teacher attending to the learning needs of a particular student or small groups of students rather than teaching a class as though all individuals were basically alike."

Tomlinson’s 2001 text describes three types of differentiation:

  • Content —Input, what students learn;
  • Process —How students go about making sense of ideas and information; and 
  • Product —Output, how students demonstrate what they have learned.

( Here’s a link to some key ideas in Tomlinson’s work shared by Marcia who attended the live event with Katie.)

Katie elaborated on some valuable parameters for meeting the needs of all learners in a class:

1.DON'T DO IT ALONE.

  • The learning is not  all dependent on you as the teacher! 
  • Leverage the resources in your classroom, including other students

2.  USE FLEXIBLE GROUPS

  • A defining feature of differentiated instruction
  • Students are part of many different groups –access to a wide variety of working arrangements
  • Grouping configuration based on the activity, or on students’ readiness, interest, or level
  • Can be purposely or randomly assigned

Here are some of the tools Katie shared for forming groups:

Grouping Planning Tool  

  • https://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/use-flexible-grouping-classroom/

Kagan Structures  

  • https://www.kaganonline.com/free_articles/research_and_rationale/330/The-Essential-5-A-Starting-Point-for-Kagan-Cooperative-Learning
  • https://www.sfdr-cisd.org/media/rtlpyyrm/kagan-structures.pdf

Cooperative Groups Role Cards  

  • https://www.readwritethink.org/sites/default/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson277/cooperative.pdf

Clock Partners  

  • https://www.talesfromoutsidetheclassroom.com/clock-partners/

3. DIFFERENTIATE ACTIVITIES

  • Use the same activity, but simplify for lower level learners and expand the difficulty for higher level

NewsInLevels.com free pre-leveled materials 

Katie uses Flip Grid for students to create videos in her class. 

4. GET STUDENT BUY-IN

  • Adult learners are very  self-aware (they are likely to choose well!)
  • Helps to “save face” for students who may feel embarrassed
  • Student  agency is key 
  • Explain the “why” behind different materials
  • Use self-assessment  to make adjustments 

To request a copy of Katie's slides , please contact her at [email protected]

Everyone is invited to share additional ideas and resources for addressing the diverse needs of the English learners in your classes.  Questions are always welcome, too!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition Group

  • Log in or register to post comments

Thank you, Susan, for the wonderful follow up information and resources.  And thank you, Dr. Welch, for a fantastic webinar!   Who doesn't love a little Carol Ann Tomlinson?!  For those of us who weren't able to make it or who support others, this is very helpful. 

Just shared all of this with my teacher-colleagues here. :)

Thanks again!

Post comment

or continue as guest

Get the Reddit app

A subreddit for those who enjoy learning about flags, their place in society past and present, and their design characteristics

Flag of Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, Russia

  • Environment
  • Science & Technology
  • Business & Industry
  • Health & Public Welfare
  • Topics (CFR Indexing Terms)
  • Public Inspection
  • Presidential Documents
  • Document Search
  • Advanced Document Search
  • Public Inspection Search
  • Reader Aids Home
  • Office of the Federal Register Announcements
  • Using FederalRegister.Gov
  • Understanding the Federal Register
  • Recent Site Updates
  • Federal Register & CFR Statistics
  • Videos & Tutorials
  • Developer Resources
  • Government Policy and OFR Procedures
  • Congressional Review
  • My Clipboard
  • My Comments
  • My Subscriptions
  • Sign In / Sign Up
  • Site Feedback
  • Search the Federal Register

The Federal Register

The daily journal of the united states government.

  • Legal Status

This site displays a prototype of a “Web 2.0” version of the daily Federal Register. It is not an official legal edition of the Federal Register, and does not replace the official print version or the official electronic version on GPO’s govinfo.gov.

The documents posted on this site are XML renditions of published Federal Register documents. Each document posted on the site includes a link to the corresponding official PDF file on govinfo.gov. This prototype edition of the daily Federal Register on FederalRegister.gov will remain an unofficial informational resource until the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register (ACFR) issues a regulation granting it official legal status. For complete information about, and access to, our official publications and services, go to About the Federal Register on NARA's archives.gov.

The OFR/GPO partnership is committed to presenting accurate and reliable regulatory information on FederalRegister.gov with the objective of establishing the XML-based Federal Register as an ACFR-sanctioned publication in the future. While every effort has been made to ensure that the material on FederalRegister.gov is accurately displayed, consistent with the official SGML-based PDF version on govinfo.gov, those relying on it for legal research should verify their results against an official edition of the Federal Register. Until the ACFR grants it official status, the XML rendition of the daily Federal Register on FederalRegister.gov does not provide legal notice to the public or judicial notice to the courts.

Applications for New Awards; State Personnel Development Grants

A Notice by the Education Department on 07/09/2024

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register .

Document Statistics

Published document.

This document has been published in the Federal Register . Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Enhanced Content - Table of Contents

This table of contents is a navigational tool, processed from the headings within the legal text of Federal Register documents. This repetition of headings to form internal navigation links has no substantive legal effect.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Supplementary information:, full text of announcement, i. funding opportunity description, ii. award information, iii. eligibility information, iv. application and submission information, v. application review information, vi. award administration information, vii. other information, enhanced content - submit public comment.

  • This feature is not available for this document.

Enhanced Content - Read Public Comments

Enhanced content - sharing.

  • Email this document to a friend

Enhanced Content - Document Print View

  • Print this document

Enhanced Content - Document Tools

These tools are designed to help you understand the official document better and aid in comparing the online edition to the print edition.

These markup elements allow the user to see how the document follows the Document Drafting Handbook that agencies use to create their documents. These can be useful for better understanding how a document is structured but are not part of the published document itself.

Enhanced Content - Developer Tools

This document is available in the following developer friendly formats:.

  • JSON: Normalized attributes and metadata
  • XML: Original full text XML
  • MODS: Government Publishing Office metadata

More information and documentation can be found in our developer tools pages .

Official Content

  • View printed version (PDF)

This PDF is the current document as it appeared on Public Inspection on 07/05/2024 at 11:15 am. It was viewed 0 times while on Public Inspection.

If you are using public inspection listings for legal research, you should verify the contents of the documents against a final, official edition of the Federal Register. Only official editions of the Federal Register provide legal notice of publication to the public and judicial notice to the courts under 44 U.S.C. 1503 & 1507 . Learn more here .

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.

The Department of Education (Department) is issuing a notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2024 for the State Personnel Development Grants (SPDG) program.

Applications Available: July 9, 2024.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 23, 2024.

Pre-Application Webinar Information: No later than July 15, 2024, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services will post pre-recorded informational webinars designed to provide technical assistance (TA) to interested applicants. The webinars may be found at https://www2.ed.gov/​fund/​grant/​apply/​osep/​new-osep-grants.html .

Note: For new potential grantees unfamiliar with grantmaking at the Department, please consult our “Getting Started with Discretionary Grant Applications” web page at https://www2.ed.gov/​fund/​grant/​about/​discretionary/​index.html .

For the addresses for obtaining and submitting an application, please refer to our Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on December 7, 2022 ( 87 FR 75045 ) and available at www.federalregister.gov/​documents/​2022/​12/​07/​2022-26554/​common-instructions-for-applicants-to-department-of-education-discretionary-grant-programs .

Jennifer Coffey, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 4A220, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 987-0150. Email: [email protected] .

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and wish to access telecommunications relay services, please dial 7-1-1.

Purpose of Program: The purpose of the SPDG program is to assist State educational agencies (SEAs) in reforming and improving their systems for personnel preparation and professional development in early intervention, educational, and transition services to improve results for children with disabilities.

Assistance Listing Number: 84.323A.

OMB Control Number: 1820-0028.

Background: “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” (RTB) is the Department's call to action to transform prekindergarten through postsecondary learning and unite around what truly works by promoting academic excellence, boldly improving learning conditions, and preparing our Nation's students for global competitiveness ( www.ed.gov/​raisethebar/​ ). A well-prepared and supported and sustainable educator workforce available to educate and support all children and youth, including children and youth with disabilities, is essential to this call to action. This competition is designed to support the Department's RTB goals. Specifically, the priorities for this competition are designed to support projects that—

  • Mitigate the barriers to improved educational opportunities and outcomes and functional results for children with disabilities by increasing the number of well-qualified, fully certified special education teachers, including paraprofessionals;
  • Increase collaborative and effective instruction and services for children with disabilities;
  • Expand the ability of principals to serve as instructional leaders who create an equity-based, cooperative, and inclusive environment; and
  • Provide pre-service and in-service personnel with the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and aspiration to engage effectively with families.

The SPDG program, as a pre-service and in-service professional development program, is uniquely positioned to support the Department's RTB goals by helping to ensure that children with disabilities have access to well-qualified educators and by growing the number of teachers and administrators who can use data to develop and implement standards-based individualized education programs (IEPs) and provide effective instruction in inclusive environments. The priorities specified in this notice are designed to support pathways and professional development for personnel to improve outcomes for children with disabilities. For more on the Department's work to eliminate educator shortages, see www.ed.gov/​raisethebar/​educators .

This competition also includes four competitive preference priorities. Applicants may address up to two. With respect to Competitive Preference Priority 1, we note that Competitive Preference Priority 1 encourages applications that provide pathways for becoming fully certified special education teachers that are affordable and provide for robust preservice classroom experience. By reducing the cost of earning a license and offering flexible scheduling, teacher residency, Grow Your Own (GYO), and registered teacher apprenticeships programs are designed to bring more people into the profession. These programs may open doors to the profession for those who may otherwise face barriers to entrance, including multilingual, racially, and ethnically diverse individuals, individuals who have disabilities, and paraprofessionals who may already have decades of classroom experience, but for numerous reasons, including cost, could not pursue a teaching degree or a high-quality pathway into the profession that includes significant clinical experience.

Research shows that high-quality residency models can expand the pool of well-prepared applicants entering the teaching profession, increase the diversity of the workforce and bring a wide range of experiences into the classroom to support students. A 2014 implementation study published by the Institute of Education Sciences shows that residents are more likely than nonresidents to report feeling prepared to enter the classroom and that after program completion, more than 90 percent of residents stayed in their school district for three years (Silva et al., 2014).

When aligned to high-quality, evidence-based practices for education preparation, such as those drafted by the Pathways Alliance ( www.thepathwaysalliance.org/​reports ) Start Printed Page 56357 and approved by the Department of Labor, registered teacher apprenticeship programs have the potential to be an effective, high-quality “earn and learn” model that allow candidates to earn their teaching credential while earning a salary by combining coursework with structured, paid on-the-job learning experiences with a mentor teacher (Pathways Alliance, 2023). Registered teacher apprenticeship programs for K-12 teachers can be used to establish, scale, and build on existing high-quality pathways into teaching that emphasize classroom-based experience, such as teacher residencies and GYO.

GYO is an approach to developing a pipeline of educator candidates to meet specific workforce needs that seeks to eliminate any barriers that may prevent local candidates from entering or remaining in the field. GYO programs are distinguished from other pipelines by whom they target, focusing on recruitment of high school students, career changers, paraprofessionals, non-teaching-school faculty, and community members (Espinoza et al., 2018). Offering financial aid ( e.g., loan forgiveness, grants, and scholarships) to candidates completing GYO programs, targeting communication to specific populations, and establishing systems for candidates to receive continuous coaching and mentoring from entrance into the GYO program through early service can all aid in the success of these programs (Carver-Thomas, 2018; Professional Educator Standards Board, 2018; Texas Comprehensive Center, 2018). GYO programs can help address shortages in high-need areas and subjects, such as in rural schools and in special education (Jessen et al., 2020); it can also result in improved recruitment and retention of teachers of color (Gist et al., 2019).

Priorities: This notice contains three absolute priorities and four competitive preference priorities. In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(1) , Absolute Priority 1 is from the notice of final priorities and definitions (NFP) published in the Federal Register on August 2, 2012 ( 77 FR 45944 ) (2012 NFP); and Absolute Priority 3 and the four competitive preference priorities are from the NFP for this program published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register (2024 NFP). In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(iv) , Absolute Priority 2 is from sections 651 through 655 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Absolute Priorities: For FY 2024 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, these priorities are absolute priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) , we consider only applications that meet Absolute Priorities 1, 2, and 3 ( i.e., an applicant must address all three absolute priorities in their application).

These priorities are:

Absolute Priority 1: Effective and Efficient Delivery of Professional Development.

The Department establishes a priority to assist SEAs in reforming and improving their systems for personnel (as that term is defined in section 651(b) of IDEA) preparation and professional development of individuals providing early intervention, educational, and transition services in order to improve results for children with disabilities.

In order to meet this priority an applicant must demonstrate in the SPDG State Plan it submits as part of its application under section 653(a)(2) of IDEA that its proposed project will—

(1) Use evidence-based (as defined in this notice) professional development practices that will increase implementation of evidence-based practices and result in improved outcomes for children with disabilities;

(2) Provide ongoing assistance to personnel receiving SPDG-supported professional development that supports the implementation of evidence-based practices with fidelity (as defined in this notice); and

(3) Use technology to more efficiently and effectively provide ongoing professional development to personnel, including to personnel in rural areas and to other populations, such as personnel in urban or high-need local educational agencies (LEAs) (as defined in this notice).

Absolute Priority 2: State Personnel Development Grants.

Statutory Requirements. To meet this priority, an applicant must meet the following statutory requirements:

1. State Personnel Development Plan.

An applicant must submit a State Personnel Development Plan that identifies and addresses the State and local needs for the personnel preparation and professional development of personnel, as well as individuals who provide direct supplementary aids and services to children with disabilities, and that—

(a) Is designed to enable the State to meet the requirements of section 612(a)(14) of IDEA, as amended by the ESSA, and section 635(a)(8) and (9) of IDEA;

(b) Is based on an assessment of State and local needs that identifies critical aspects and areas in need of improvement related to the preparation, ongoing training, and professional development of personnel who serve infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children with disabilities within the State, including—

(1) Current and anticipated personnel vacancies and shortages; and

(2) The number of preservice and in-service programs;

(c) Is integrated and aligned, to the maximum extent possible, with State plans and activities under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA); the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; and the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA);

(d) Describes a partnership agreement that is in effect for the period of the grant, which agreement must specify—

(1) The nature and extent of the partnership described in section 652(b) of IDEA and the respective roles of each member of the partnership, including, if applicable, an individual, entity, or agency other than the SEA that has the responsibility under State law for teacher preparation and certification; and

(2) How the SEA will work with other persons and organizations involved in, and concerned with, the education of children with disabilities, including the respective roles of each of the persons and organizations;

(e) Describes how the strategies and activities the SEA uses to address identified professional development and personnel needs will be coordinated with activities supported with other public resources (including funds provided under Part B and Part C of IDEA and retained for use at the State level for personnel and professional development purposes) and private resources;

(f) Describes how the SEA will align its personnel development plan with the plan and application submitted under sections 1111 and 2101(d), respectively, of the ESEA;

(g) Describes strategies the SEA will use to address the identified professional development and personnel needs and how such strategies will be implemented, including—

(1) A description of the programs and activities that will provide personnel with the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of, and improve the performance and achievement of, infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children with disabilities; and

(2) How such strategies will be integrated, to the maximum extent possible, with other activities supported by grants funded under section 662 of IDEA, as amended by the ESSA; Start Printed Page 56358

(h) Provides an assurance that the SEA will provide TA to LEAs to improve the quality of professional development available to meet the needs of personnel who serve children with disabilities;

(i) Provides an assurance that the SEA will provide TA to entities that provide services to infants and toddlers with disabilities to improve the quality of professional development available to meet the needs of personnel serving such children;

(j) Describes how the SEA will recruit and retain teachers who meet the qualifications described in section 612(a)(14)(C) of IDEA, as amended by the ESSA, and other qualified personnel in geographic areas of greatest need;

(k) Describes the steps the SEA will take to ensure that poor and minority children are not taught at higher rates by teachers who do not meet the qualifications described in section 612(a)(14)(C) of IDEA, as amended by the ESSA; and

(l) Describes how the SEA will assess, on a regular basis, the extent to which the strategies implemented have been effective in meeting the performance goals described in section 612(a)(15) of IDEA, as amended by the ESSA.

2. Partnerships.

(a) Required Partners.

Applicants must establish a partnership with LEAs and other State agencies involved in, or concerned with, the education of children with disabilities, including—

(1) Not less than one institution of higher education (IHE);

(2) The State agencies responsible for administering Part C of IDEA, early education, childcare, and vocational rehabilitation programs; and

(3) In accordance with section 652(b)(3) of IDEA, if State law assigns responsibility for teacher preparation and certification to an individual, entity, or agency other than the SEA, such individual, entity, or agency. The SEA must ensure that any activities it carries out under this program that are within such partner's jurisdiction (which may include activities described in section 654(b) of IDEA) are carried out by that partner.

(b) Other Partners.

An SEA must work in partnership with other persons and organizations involved in, and concerned with, the education of children with disabilities, which may include—

(1) The Governor;

(2) Parents of children with disabilities ages birth through 26;

(3) Parents of nondisabled children ages birth through 26;

(4) Individuals with disabilities;

(5) Parent training and information centers or community parent resource centers funded under sections 671 and 672 of IDEA, respectively;

(6) Community based and other nonprofit organizations involved in the education and employment of individuals with disabilities;

(7) Personnel as defined in section 651(b) of IDEA;

(8) The State advisory panel established under Part B of IDEA;

(9) The State interagency coordinating council established under Part C of IDEA;

(10) Individuals knowledgeable about vocational education;

(11) The State agency for higher education;

(12) Public agencies with jurisdiction in the areas of health, mental health, social services, and juvenile justice;

(13) Other providers of professional development that work with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children with disabilities; and

(14) Other individuals.

3. Use of Funds.

(a) Professional Development Activities—Each SEA that receives a grant under this program must use the grant funds to support activities in accordance with the State's Personnel Development Plan, including one or more of the following:

(1) Carrying out programs that provide support to both special education and regular education teachers of children with disabilities and principals, such as programs that—

(i) Provide teacher mentoring, team teaching, reduced class schedules and caseloads, and intensive professional development;

(ii) Use standards or assessments for guiding beginning teachers that are consistent with challenging State academic achievement standards and with the requirements for professional development, as defined in section 8101 of the ESEA; and

(iii) Encourage collaborative and consultative models of providing early intervention, special education, and related services.

(2) Encouraging and supporting the training of special education and regular education teachers and administrators to effectively use and integrate technology—

(i) Into curricula and instruction, including training to improve the ability to collect, manage, and analyze data to improve teaching, decision making, school improvement efforts, and accountability;

(ii) To enhance learning by children with disabilities; and

(iii) To effectively communicate with parents.

(3) Providing professional development activities that—

(i) Improve the knowledge of special education and regular education teachers concerning—

(A) The academic and developmental or functional needs of students with disabilities; or

(B) Effective instructional strategies, methods, and skills, and the use of State academic content standards and student academic achievement and functional standards, and State assessments, to improve teaching practices and student academic achievement;

(ii) Improve the knowledge of special education and regular education teachers and principals and, in appropriate cases, paraprofessionals, concerning effective instructional practices, and that—

(A) Provide training in how to teach and address the needs of children with different learning styles and children who are limited English proficient;

(B) Involve collaborative groups of teachers, administrators, and, in appropriate cases, related services personnel;

(C) Provide training in methods of—

(1) Positive behavioral interventions and supports to improve student behavior in the classroom;

(2) Scientifically based reading instruction, including early literacy instruction;

(3) Early and appropriate interventions to identify and help children with disabilities;

(4) Effective instruction for children with low-incidence disabilities;

(5) Successful transitioning to postsecondary opportunities; and

(6) Using classroom-based techniques to assist children prior to referral for special education;

(D) Provide training to enable personnel to work with and involve parents in their child's education, including parents of low income and limited English proficient children with disabilities;

(E) Provide training for special education personnel and regular education personnel in planning, developing, and implementing effective and appropriate individualized education programs (IEPs); and

(F) Provide training to meet the needs of students with significant health, mobility, or behavioral needs prior to serving those students;

(iii) Train administrators, principals, and other relevant school personnel in conducting effective IEP meetings; and

(iv) Train early intervention, preschool, and related services providers, and other relevant school personnel in conducting effective Start Printed Page 56359 individualized family service plan (IFSP) meetings.

(4) Developing and implementing initiatives to promote the recruitment and retention of special education teachers who meet the qualifications described in section 612(a)(14)(C) of IDEA, as amended by the ESSA, particularly initiatives that have proven effective in recruiting and retaining teachers, including programs that provide—

(i) Teacher mentoring from exemplary special education teachers, principals, or superintendents;

(ii) Induction and support for special education teachers during their first three years of employment as teachers; or

(iii) Incentives, including financial incentives, to retain special education teachers who have a record of success in helping students with disabilities.

(5) Carrying out programs and activities that are designed to improve the quality of personnel who serve children with disabilities, such as—

(i) Innovative professional development programs (which may be provided through partnerships that include IHEs), including programs that train teachers and principals to integrate technology into curricula and instruction to improve teaching, learning, and technology literacy, which must be consistent with the definition of professional development in section 8101 of the ESEA; and

(ii) The development and use of proven, cost effective strategies for the implementation of professional development activities, such as through the use of technology and distance learning.

(6) Carrying out programs and activities that are designed to improve the quality of early intervention personnel, including paraprofessionals and primary referral sources, such as—

(i) Professional development programs to improve the delivery of early intervention services;

(ii) Initiatives to promote the recruitment and retention of early intervention personnel; and

(iii) Interagency activities to ensure that early intervention personnel are adequately prepared and trained.

(b) Other Activities—Each SEA that receives a grant under this program must use the grant funds to support activities in accordance with the State's Personnel Development Plan, including one or more of the following:

(1) Reforming special education and regular education teacher certification (including recertification) or licensing requirements to ensure that—

(i) Special education and regular education teachers have—

(A) The training and information necessary to address the full range of needs of children with disabilities across disability categories; and

(B) The necessary subject matter knowledge and teaching skills in the academic subjects that the teachers teach;

(ii) Special education and regular education teacher certification (including recertification) or licensing requirements are aligned with challenging State academic content standards; and

(iii) Special education and regular education teachers have the subject matter knowledge and teaching skills, including technology literacy, necessary to help students with disabilities meet challenging State student academic achievement and functional standards.

(2) Programs that establish, expand, or improve alternative routes for State certification of special education teachers for individuals with a baccalaureate or master's degree who meet the qualifications described in section 612(a)(14)(C) of IDEA, as amended by the ESSA, including mid-career professionals from other occupations, paraprofessionals, and recent college or university graduates with records of academic distinction who demonstrate the potential to become highly effective special education teachers.

(3) Teacher advancement initiatives for special education teachers that promote professional growth and emphasize multiple career paths (such as paths to becoming a career teacher, mentor teacher, or exemplary teacher) and pay differentiation.

(4) Developing and implementing mechanisms to assist LEAs and schools in effectively recruiting and retaining special education teachers who meet the qualifications described in section 612(a)(14)(C) of IDEA, as amended by the ESSA.

(5) Reforming tenure systems, implementing teacher testing for subject matter knowledge, and implementing teacher testing for State certification or licensure, consistent with title II of the HEA ( 20 U.S.C. 1021 et seq. ).

(6) Funding projects to promote reciprocity of teacher certification or licensing between or among States for special education teachers, except that no reciprocity agreement developed under this absolute priority or developed using funds awarded under the SPDG competition may lead to the weakening of any State teacher certification or licensing requirement.

(7) Assisting LEAs to serve children with disabilities through the development and use of proven, innovative strategies to deliver intensive professional development programs that are both cost effective and easily accessible, such as strategies that involve delivery through the use of technology, peer networks, and distance learning.

(8) Developing, or assisting LEAs in developing, merit-based performance systems and strategies that provide differential and bonus pay for special education teachers.

(9) Supporting activities that ensure that teachers are able to use challenging State academic content standards and student academic achievement and functional standards, and State assessments for all children with disabilities, to improve instructional practices and improve the academic achievement of children with disabilities.

(10) When applicable, coordinating with, and expanding centers established under section 2113(c)(18) of the ESEA, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, to benefit special education teachers.

(c) Contracts and Subgrants—An SEA that receives a grant under this program—

(1) Must award contracts or subgrants to LEAs, IHEs, parent training and information centers, or community parent resource centers, as appropriate, to carry out the State Personnel Development Plan; and

(2) May award contracts and subgrants to other public and private entities, including the State lead agency (LA) (as defined in this notice) under Part C of IDEA, to carry out the State Personnel Development Plan.

(d) Use of Funds for Professional Development—An SEA that receives a grant under this program must use—

(1) Not less than 90 percent of the funds the SEA receives under the grant for any fiscal year for the Professional Development Activities described in paragraph (a); and

(2) Not more than 10 percent of the funds the SEA receives under the grant for any fiscal year for the Other Activities described in paragraph (b).

Absolute Priority 3: Improving Engagement between Schools and Families.

Projects designed to develop the capacity of administrators and educators to develop systems and use strategies that build trust and engagement with families, while further strengthening the role families play in their child's development and learning. Projects must— Start Printed Page 56360

(a) Provide training and coaching to assist administrators to—

(1) Develop and implement policies and programs that recognize families' funds of knowledge, connect family engagement to student learning, and create welcoming, inviting cultures; and

(2) Create systems that support staff and families in meaningful engagement ( i.e., Leading by Convening and the Dual-Capacity Framework. For more information visit www.dualcapcity.org and www.ncsi.wested.org/​resources/​leading-by-convening );

(b) Provide training and coaching to assist educators and early intervention providers to—

(1) Build their knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, aspirations, and behaviors about effective strategies to engage families in their child's learning;

(2) Work with families to make collaborative, data-based decisions in the development and implementation of the child's IEP; and

(3) Provide information and resources to families that enable them to support their children's learning and behavior at home; and

(c) Provide training and coaching to families so they can—

(1) Meaningfully participate in the development and implementation of their child's IEP;

(2) Participate in data-based decision making related to their child's education; and

(3) Further their child's learning at home.

In their applications, States must describe how their projects will meet these program requirements. In addition to these requirements, to be considered for funding under this priority, applicants must meet the application and administrative requirements under Common Requirements .

Competitive Preference Priorities: For FY 2024 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, these four priorities are competitive preference priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i) , we award additional points to an application that meets up to two of these competitive preference priorities. An applicant is not required to address any of the competitive preference priorities. If an applicant addresses the competitive preference priorities, the applicant must indicate which one or two competitive preference priorities they are responding to in the application. We award up to an additional 5 points to an application, depending on how well the application meets Competitive Preference Priority 1. For Competitive Preference Priorities 2, 3, and 4, we award up to an additional 2 points to an application, depending on how well the application meets the competitive preference priority.

Competitive Preference Priority 1: Providing Career Pathways for Those Interested in Becoming Fully Certified Special Education Teachers, Including Paraprofessionals, Through Residency, Grow Your Own (GYO), and Registered Apprenticeships Programs (up to 5 points).

Projects designed to increase the number of fully certified special education teachers by establishing a new, or enhancing an existing, teacher residency, GYO, or registered teacher apprenticeship program that minimizes or eliminates the cost of certification for special education teacher candidates and provides opportunities for candidates to be paid, including being provided with a stipend (which, for programs that include paid experience for the duration of the certification program, can be met through paragraph (i), below), to cover the time spent gaining classroom experience during their certification program.

A project implementing a new or enhanced teacher residency, GYO, or registered teacher apprenticeship program must—

(a) Use data-driven strategies and evidence-based approaches to increase recruitment, successful completion, and retention of the special education teachers supported by the project;

(b) Provide standards for participants to enter into and complete the program;

(c) Be aligned to evidence-based practices for effective educator preparation;

(d) Have little to no financial burden for program participants, or provide for loan forgiveness, grants, or scholarship programs;

(e) Provide opportunities for candidates to be paid, including being provided with a stipend, to cover time spent in clinical experience during their certification program;

(f) Develop a plan to monitor program quality;

(g) Require completion of a bachelor's degree either before entering or as a result of the teacher residency, GYO, or teacher apprenticeship program;

(h) Result in the satisfaction of all requirements for full State teacher licensure or certification, excluding emergency, temporary, provisional, or other sub-standard licensure or certification;

(i) Provide increasing levels of responsibility for the resident/GYO participant/apprentice during at least one year of paid on-the-job learning/clinical experience, during which a mentor teacher is the teacher of record; and

(j) Develop a plan to ensure the program has funding after the end of the project period.

In their applications, States must describe how their projects will meet these program requirements. In addition to these requirements, to be considered for funding under this priority, applicants must address the application and administrative requirements under Common Requirements .

Competitive Preference Priority 2: Supporting Emergency Certified Special Education Teachers to Become Fully Certified (up to 2 points).

Projects designed to increase the number of fully certified special education teachers by implementing plans that address the emergency certification needs of personnel who work with children with disabilities. The plans must—

(a) Identify the barriers and challenges to full certification that are experienced by special education personnel on emergency certifications;

(b) Include evidence-based strategies to address those barriers and challenges and assist special education personnel on emergency certifications to obtain full certification, consistent with State-approved or State-recognized requirements, within three years;

(c) Include training and coaching on, at a minimum—

(1) The skills needed to collaboratively develop, implement, and monitor standards-based IEPs;

(2) High-leverage and evidence-based instructional and classroom management practices; and

(3) The provision of wrap-around services ( e.g., social, emotional, and mental health supports), special education services, and other supports for children with disabilities; and

(d) Provide participating special education personnel on emergency certifications with opportunities to apply the evidence-based skills and practices described in paragraph (c) in the classroom.

Competitive Preference Priority 3: Person-Centered IEPs that Support Instructional Progress (up to 2 points).

Projects designed to provide pre-service and in-service training to school and district personnel, including IEP team members ( e.g., special education Start Printed Page 56361 and general education teachers, related service personnel who work with children with disabilities) and administrators, to improve their skills in developing and implementing person-centered IEPs that support instructional progress and improve functional outcomes  [ 1 ] for children with disabilities. Projects must—

(a) Provide training and coaching to administrators and IEP team members to increase their ability to develop, implement, and monitor person-centered IEPs that support instructional progress so that they can—

(1) Use appropriate data to determine the child's instructional and functional strengths and needs;

(2) Increase the child's learning time and opportunities with general education peers, as appropriate, based on research;

(3) Choose and use evidence-based practices for core instruction; and

(4) Supplement core instruction with special education services.

Competitive Preference Priority 4: Principals as Instructional Leaders Who Support Collaborative Service Provision (up to 2 points).

Projects designed to provide professional development to improve the instructional leadership provided by principals and other school leaders, district leaders, and teacher leaders to promote educational equity for children with disabilities. Projects must provide training and coaching to assist administrators to—

(a) Create and support equitable school schedules and other operations that enable collaborative services from general and special education staff;

(b) Support schoolwide inclusionary practices within a multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) framework;

(c) Support evidence-based professional development for their staff related to—

(1) Effective content instruction;

(2) Data for decision-making and continuous progress monitoring;

(3) IEP development and implementation; and

(4) Wrap-around services;

(d) Actively engage families and school communities to identify and address concerns regarding, and barriers to, accessibility, equity, and inclusiveness, using frameworks such as universal design; and

(e) Provide administrators structured learning opportunities, such as through a cohort model, mentoring, one-on-one coaching, networking to build a professional community, and applied learning opportunities, such as problem-solving related to the needs of individual children.

Common Requirements:

In addition to the requirements contained in these priorities, to be considered for funding, applicants must meet the following application and administrative requirements:

(a) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Significance,” how the proposed project will—

(1) Align with and integrate other State initiatives and programs, as well as district and local improvement plans, to leverage existing professional development and data systems;

(2) Develop and implement plans to sustain the grant program after the grant funding has ended; and

(3) Integrate family engagement into all project efforts by supporting capacity building for personnel and families.

(b) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Quality of Project Services,” how the proposed project will—

(1) Ensure equal access and treatment for members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. To meet this requirement, the applicant must describe how it will—

(i) Develop the knowledge and ability of personnel to be culturally responsive and engage children and families with a strengths-based approach;

(ii) Engage students, families, and community members to assess the appropriateness and impact of the intervention, program, or strategies; and

(iii) Review program procedures and resources to ensure a diversity of perspectives are brought into the project; and

(2) Achieve the project's goals and objectives. To meet this requirement, the applicant must provide—

(i) Either a logic model or theory of action (to be provided in appendix A), which demonstrates how the proposed project will achieve intended measurable outcomes;

(ii) A description of proposed in-State and national partners that the project will work with to achieve the goals and objectives of the grant and how the impact of these partnerships will be measured; and

(iii) A description of how the project will be based on current research and make use of evidence-based practices. To meet this requirement, the applicant must describe—

(A) The current research base for the chosen interventions;

(B) The evidence-based model or practices to be used in the project's professional development activities; and

(C) How implementation science will be used to support full and sustained use of evidence-based practices and result in sustained systems of implementation support.

(c) In the narrative section of the application under “Quality of the project evaluation,” include an evaluation plan for the project developed in consultation with and implemented by a third-party  [ 2 ] evaluator. The evaluation plan must—

(1) Articulate formative and summative evaluation questions, including important process and outcome evaluation questions. These questions should be related to the project's proposed logic model or theory of action required under paragraph (b)(2)(i) of these requirements;

(2) Describe how progress in and fidelity of implementation, as well as project outcomes, will be measured to answer the evaluation questions. Specify the measures and associated instruments or sources for data appropriate to the evaluation questions. Include information regarding reliability and validity of measures where appropriate;

(3) Describe strategies for analyzing data and how data collected as part of this plan will be used to inform and improve service delivery over the course of the project and to refine the proposed logic model or theory of action and evaluation plan, including subsequent data collection;

(4) Provide a timeline for conducting the evaluation and include staff assignments for completing the plan. The timeline must indicate that the data Start Printed Page 56362 will be available annually for the annual performance report to the Department; and

(5) Dedicate sufficient funds in each budget year to cover the costs of developing or refining the evaluation plan in consultation with a third-party evaluator, as well as the costs associated with the implementation of the evaluation plan by the third-party evaluator.

(d) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Adequacy of resources,” how—

(1) The proposed project will encourage applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability, as appropriate;

(2) The proposed key project personnel, consultants, and subcontractors have the qualifications and experience to carry out the proposed activities and achieve the project's intended outcomes;

(3) The applicant and any key partners have adequate resources to carry out the proposed activities; and

(4) The proposed costs are reasonable in relation to the anticipated results and benefits and funds will be spent in a way that increases their efficiency and cost-effectiveness, including by reducing waste or achieving better outcomes.

(e) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under “Quality of the management plan,” how the proposed management plan will ensure that the project's intended outcomes will be achieved on time and within budget. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe—

(1) Clearly defined responsibilities for key project personnel, consultants, and subcontractors, as applicable;

(2) Timelines and milestones for accomplishing the project tasks;

(3) How key project personnel and any consultants and subcontractors will be allocated to the project and how these allocations are appropriate and adequate to achieve the project's intended outcomes; and

(4) How the proposed project will benefit from a diversity of perspectives, including those of families, educators, TA providers, researchers, and policy makers, among others, in its development and operation.

(f) Address the following application requirements. The applicant must—

(1) Include, in appendix A, personnel-loading charts and timelines, as applicable, to illustrate the management plan described in the narrative;

(2) Provide an assurance that any project website will include relevant information and documents in a form that meets a government or industry-recognized standard for accessibility;

(3) Include, in the budget, attendance at the following:

(i) An annual one and one-half day SPDG National Meeting in the Washington, DC area during each year of the project period; and

(ii) A three-day project directors' conference in Washington, DC, during each year of the project period, provided that, if the conference is conducted virtually, the project must reallocate unused travel funds no later than the end of the third quarter of each budget period; and

(4) Budget $6,000 annually for support of the SPDG program network and website currently administered by the University of Oregon ( www.signetwork.org ).

Under 34 CFR 75.253 , the Secretary may reduce continuation awards or discontinue awards in any year of the project period for excessive carryover balances, a failure to make substantial progress, or has not maintained financial and administrative management systems that meet requirements in 2 CFR 200.302 , Financial management, and § 200.303, Internal controls. The Department intends to closely monitor unobligated balances and substantial progress under this program and may reduce or discontinue funding accordingly.

References:

Carver-Thomas, D. (2018). Diversifying the teaching profession: How to recruit and retain teachers of color. Learning Policy Institute. https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/​sites/​default/​files/​product-files/​Diversifying_​Teaching_​Profession_​REPORT_​0.pdf .

Espinoza, D., Saunders, R., Kini, T., & Darling-Hammond, L. (2018). Taking the long view: State efforts to solve teacher shortages by strengthening the profession. Learning Policy Institute. https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/​product/​long-view-report .

Gist, C.D., Bianco, M., & Lynn, M. (2019). Examining grow your own programs across the teacher development continuum: Mining research on teachers of color and nontraditional educator pipelines. Journal of Teacher Education, 70 (1), 13-25. https://doi.org/​10.1177/​0022487118787504 .

Jessen, S., Fairman, J., Fallona, C., & Johnson, A. (2020). Consider “Grow-Your-Own” (GYO) models by examining existing teacher preparation programs in Maine. Maine Education Policy Research Institute. 121. https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/​mepri/​121 .

Pathways Alliance. (2023). National guidelines for apprenticeship standards for K-12 teacher apprenticeships. www.thepathwaysalliance.org/​reports .

Professional Educator Standards Board. (2016). Grow your own teachers report: Enhancing educator pathways to address teacher shortage and increase diversity. www.pesb.wa.gov/​resources-and-reports/​reports/​grow-your-own-teachers-report/​ .

Silva, T., McKie, A., Knechtel, V., Gleason, P., & Makowsky, L. (2014). Teaching residency programs: A multisite look at a new model to prepare teachers for high-need schools (NCEE 2015-4002). National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

Texas Comprehensive Center. (2018). Grow your own teachers initiatives resources. American Institutes for Research. https://compcenternetwork.org/​resources/​resource/​4290/​grow-your-own-teachers-initiatives-resources .

Definitions: For FY 2024 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, the following definitions apply to this competition. We provide the source of the definitions in parentheses.

Demonstrates a rationale means a key project component included in the project's logic model is informed by research or evaluation findings that suggest the project component is likely to improve relevant outcomes. ( 34 CFR 77.1 )

Evidence-based means, for purposes of Absolute Priority 1, practices for which there is strong evidence or moderate evidence of effectiveness (2012 NFP); and for purposes of the competitive preference priorities, the proposed project component is supported by one or more of strong evidence, moderate evidence, promising evidence, or evidence that demonstrates a rationale ( 34 CFR 77.1 ).

Experimental study means a study that is designed to compare outcomes between two groups of individuals (such as students) that are otherwise equivalent except for their assignment to either a treatment group receiving a project component or a control group that does not. Randomized controlled trials, regression discontinuity design studies, and single-case design studies are the specific types of experimental studies that, depending on their design and implementation ( e.g., sample attrition in randomized controlled trials and regression discontinuity design studies), can meet What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) standards without reservations as described in the WWC Handbooks:

(i) A randomized controlled trial employs random assignment of, for example, students, teachers, classrooms, or schools to receive the project Start Printed Page 56363 component being evaluated (the treatment group) or not to receive the project component (the control group).

(ii) A regression discontinuity design study assigns the project component being evaluated using a measured variable ( e.g., assigning students reading below a cutoff score to tutoring or developmental education classes) and controls for that variable in the analysis of outcomes.

(iii) A single-case design study uses observations of a single case ( e.g., a student eligible for a behavioral intervention) over time in the absence and presence of a controlled treatment manipulation to determine whether the outcome is systematically related to the treatment. ( 34 CFR 77.1 )

Fidelity means the delivery of instruction in the way in which it was designed to be delivered. (2012 NFP)

High-need LEA means, in accordance with section 2102(3) of the ESEA, an LEA—

(a) That serves not fewer than 10,000 children from families with incomes below the poverty line (as that term is defined in section 8101(41) of the ESEA), or for which not less than 20 percent of the children served by the LEA are from families with incomes below the poverty line; and

(b) For which there is (1) a high percentage of teachers not teaching in the academic subjects or grade levels that the teachers were trained to teach, or (2) a high percentage of teachers with emergency, provisional, or temporary certification or licensing. (2012 NFP)

Lead agency means the agency designated by the State's Governor under section 635(a)(10) of IDEA and 34 CFR 303.120 that receives funds under section 643 of IDEA to administer the State's responsibilities under part C of IDEA. ( 34 CFR 303.22 )

Local educational agency (LEA) means a public board of education or other public authority legally constituted within a State for either administrative control or direction of, or to perform a service function for, public elementary schools or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a State, or for such combination of school districts or counties as are recognized in a State as an administrative agency for its public elementary schools or secondary schools. (Section 602(19) of IDEA ( 20 U.S.C. 1401(19) ))

Logic model (also referred to as a theory of action) means a framework that identifies key project components of the proposed project ( i.e., the active “ingredients” that are hypothesized to be critical to achieving the relevant outcomes) and describes the theoretical and operational relationships among the key project components and relevant outcomes. ( 34 CFR 77.1 )

Moderate evidence means that there is evidence of effectiveness of a key project component in improving a relevant outcome for a sample that overlaps with the populations or settings proposed to receive that component, based on a relevant finding from one of the following:

(i) A practice guide prepared by the WWC using version 2.1, 3.0, 4.0, or 4.1 of the WWC Handbooks reporting a “strong evidence base” or “moderate evidence base” for the corresponding practice guide recommendation;

(ii) An intervention report prepared by the WWC using version 2.1, 3.0, 4.0, or 4.1 of the WWC Handbooks reporting a “positive effect” or “potentially positive effect” on a relevant outcome based on a “medium to large” extent of evidence, with no reporting of a “negative effect” or “potentially negative effect” on a relevant outcome; or

(iii) A single experimental study or quasi-experimental design study reviewed and reported by the WWC using version 2.1, 3.0, 4.0, or 4.1 of the WWC Handbooks, or otherwise assessed by the Department using version 4.1 of the WWC Handbooks, as appropriate, and that—

(A) Meets WWC standards with or without reservations;

(B) Includes at least one statistically significant and positive ( i.e., favorable) effect on a relevant outcome;

(C) Includes no overriding statistically significant and negative effects on relevant outcomes reported in the study or in a corresponding WWC intervention report prepared under version 2.1, 3.0, 4.0, or 4.1 of the WWC Handbooks; and

(D) Is based on a sample from more than one site ( e.g., State, county, city, school district, or postsecondary campus) and includes at least 350 students or other individuals across sites. Multiple studies of the same project component that each meet requirements in paragraphs (iii)(A), (B), and (C) of this definition may together satisfy the requirement in this paragraph (iii)(D). ( 34 CFR 77.1 )

Project component means an activity, strategy, intervention, process, product, practice, or policy included in a project. Evidence may pertain to an individual project component or to a combination of project components ( e.g., training teachers on instructional practices for English learners and follow-on coaching for these teachers). ( 34 CFR 77.1 )

Promising evidence means that there is evidence of the effectiveness of a key project component in improving a relevant outcome, based on a relevant finding from one of the following—

(i) A practice guide prepared by WWC reporting a “strong evidence base” or “moderate evidence base” for the corresponding practice guide recommendation;

(ii) An intervention report prepared by the WWC reporting a “positive effect” or “potentially positive effect” on a relevant outcome with no reporting of a “negative effect” or “potentially negative effect” on a relevant outcome; or

(iii) A single study assessed by the Department, as appropriate, that—

(A) Is an experimental study, a quasi-experimental design study, or a well-designed and well-implemented correlational study with statistical controls for selection bias ( e.g., a study using regression methods to account for differences between a treatment group and a comparison group); and

(B) Includes at least one statistically significant and positive ( i.e., favorable) effect on a relevant outcome. ( 34 CFR 77.1 )

Quasi-experimental design study means a study using a design that attempts to approximate an experimental study by identifying a comparison group that is similar to the treatment group in important respects. This type of study, depending on design and implementation ( e.g., establishment of baseline equivalence of the groups being compared), can meet WWC standards with reservations, but cannot meet WWC standards without reservations, as described in the WWC Handbooks. ( 34 CFR 77.1 )

Relevant outcome means the student outcome(s) or other outcome(s) the key project component is designed to improve, consistent with the specific goals of the program. ( 34 CFR 77.1 )

State educational agency means the State board of education or other agency or officer primarily responsible for the State supervision of public elementary schools and secondary schools, or, if there is no such officer or agency, an officer or agency designated by the Governor or by State law. (Section 602(32) of IDEA ( 20 U.S.C. 1401(32) ))

Strong evidence means that there is evidence of the effectiveness of a key project component in improving a relevant outcome for a sample that overlaps with the populations and settings proposed to receive that component, based on a relevant finding from one of the following—

(i) A practice guide prepared by the WWC using version 2.1, 3.0, 4.0, or 4.1 Start Printed Page 56364 of the WWC Handbook reporting a “strong evidence base” for the corresponding practice guide recommendation;

(ii) An intervention report prepared by the WWC using version 2.1, 3.0, 4.0, or 4.1 of the WWC Handbook reporting a “positive effect” on a relevant outcome based on a “medium to large” extent of evidence, with no reporting of a “negative effect” or “potentially negative effect” on a relevant outcome; or

(iii) A single experimental study reviewed and reported by the WWC using version 2.1, 3.0, 4.0, or 4.1 of the WWC Handbook, or otherwise assessed by the Department using version 4.1 of the WWC Handbook, as appropriate, and that—

(A) Meets WWC standards without reservations;

(C) Includes no overriding statistically significant and negative effects on relevant outcomes reported in the study or in a corresponding WWC intervention report prepared under version 2.1, 3.0, 4.0, or 4.1 of the WWC Handbook; and

(D) Is based on a sample from more than one site ( e.g., State, county, city, school district, or postsecondary campus) and includes at least 350 students or other individuals across sites. Multiple studies of the same project component that each meet requirements in paragraphs (iii)(A), (B), and (C) of this definition may together satisfy this requirement. ( 34 CFR 77.1 )

What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Handbooks (WWC Handbooks) means the standards and procedures set forth in the WWC Standards Handbook, Versions 4.0 or 4.1, and WWC Procedures Handbook, Versions 4.0 or 4.1, or in the WWC Procedures and Standards Handbook, Version 3.0 or Version 2.1 (all incorporated by reference, see §  77.2). Study findings eligible for review under WWC standards can meet WWC standards without reservations, meet WWC standards with reservations, or not meet WWC standards. WWC practice guides and intervention reports include findings from systematic reviews of evidence as described in the WWC Handbooks documentation. ( 34 CFR 77.1 )

Note: The What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook (Version 4.1), as well as the more recent What Works Clearinghouse Handbooks released in August 2022 (Version 5.0), are available at https://ies.ed.gov/​ncee/​wwc/​Handbooks .

Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1451-1455 .

Note: Projects will be awarded and must be operated in a manner consistent with the nondiscrimination requirements contained in Federal civil rights laws.

Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations in 34 CFR parts 75 , 77 , 79 , 81 , 82 , 84 , 86 , 97 , 98 , and 99 . (b) The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180 , as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3485 . (c) The Guidance for Federal Financial Assistance in 2 CFR part 200 , as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3474 . (d) The 2012 NFP. (e) The 2024 NFP.

Note: The U.S. Department of Education will implement the provisions included in the OMB final rule, OMB Guidance for Federal Financial Assistance, which amends 2 CFR parts 25 , 170 , 175 , 176 , 180 , 182 , 183 , 184 , and 200 , on October 1, 2024. Grant applicants that anticipate a performance period start date on or after October 1, 2024, should follow the provisions stated in the OMB Guidance for Federal Financial Assistance ( 89 FR 30046 , April 22, 2024) when preparing an application. For more information about these updated regulations please visit: https://www.cfo.gov/​resources/​uniform-guidance/​ .

Note: The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants except federally recognized Indian Tribes.

Note: The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to IHEs only.

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $3,571,054.

Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2025 from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $500,000-$2,100,000 (for the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico). States may not receive less than $500,000 in each year of the grant and must submit a budget in their application for not less than $500,000 in each year of the grant. In the case of outlying areas (United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), awards will be not less than $80,000.

Note: We will set the amount of each award after considering—

(1) The amount of funds available for making the grants;

(2) The relative population of the State or outlying area;

(3) The types of activities proposed by the State or outlying area;

(4) The alignment of proposed activities with section 612(a)(14) of IDEA, as amended by the ESSA;

(5) The alignment of proposed activities with State plans and applications submitted under sections 1111 and 2101(d), respectively, of the ESEA; and

(6) The use, as appropriate, of scientifically based research and activities.

Using the same considerations, the Secretary funded these selected applications for FY 2023 at the following levels:

StateFY 2023 funding amountAlabama$1,139,436Connecticut867,060Kentucky570,000Virginia2,005,409

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $1,000,000 excluding the outlying areas.

Estimated Number of Awards: 4.

Note: The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

Project Period: Not less than one year and not more than five years.

1. Eligible Applicants: An SEA of one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or an outlying area (United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).

Note: Public Law 95-134, which permits the consolidation of grants to the outlying areas, does not apply to funds received under this competition.

2.a. Cost Sharing or Matching: This competition does not require cost sharing or matching.

b. Indirect Cost Rate Information: This program uses an unrestricted indirect cost rate. For more information regarding indirect costs, or to obtain a negotiated indirect cost rate, please see https://www2.ed.gov/​about/​offices/​list/​ocfo/​intro.html .

c. Administrative Cost Limitation: This program does not include any program-specific limitation on administrative expenses. All administrative expenses must be reasonable and necessary and conform to Cost Principles described in 2 CFR Start Printed Page 56365 part 200, subpart E of the Uniform Guidance.

3. Subgrantees: A grantee under this competition must award contracts and subgrants as described in Absolute Priority 2 (paragraph (3)(c) under Statutory Requirements, Use of Funds). See section 654(c) of IDEA.

4. Other General Requirements:

(a) Recipients of funding under this competition must make positive efforts to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities (see section 606 of IDEA).

(b) Applicants for, and recipients of, funding must involve individuals with disabilities or parents of individuals with disabilities ages birth through 26, in planning, implementing, and evaluating the project (see section 682(a)(1)(A) of IDEA).

1. Application Submission Instructions: Applicants are required to follow the Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on December 7, 2022 ( 87 FR 75045 ) and available at www . federalregister.gov/documents/2022/12/07/2022-26554/common-instructions-for-applicants-to-department-of-education-discretionary-grant-programs, which contain requirements and information on how to submit an application.

2. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79 . Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this competition. However, under 34 CFR 79.8(a) , we waive intergovernmental review in order to make an award by the end of FY 2024.

3. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

4. Recommended Page Limit: The application narrative is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. We recommend that you (1) limit the application narrative to no more than 70 pages and (2) use the following standards:

  • A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
  • Double-space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, reference citations, and captions, as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, graphs, and screen shots.
  • Use a font that is 12 point or larger.
  • Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial.

The recommended page limit does not apply to the cover sheet; the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; the assurances and certifications; or the abstract (follow the guidance provided in the application package for completing the abstract), the table of contents, the list of priority requirements, the resumes, the reference list, the letters of support, or the appendices. However, the recommended page limit does apply to all of the application narrative, including all text in charts, tables, figures, graphs, and screen shots.

1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are listed below:

(a) Significance (20 points).

(1) The Secretary considers the significance of the proposed project.

(2) In determining the significance of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which specific gaps or weaknesses in services, infrastructure, or opportunities have been identified and will be addressed by the proposed project, including the nature and magnitude of those gaps or weaknesses.

(ii) The extent to which the training or professional development services to be provided by the proposed project are of sufficient quality, intensity, and duration to lead to improvements in practice among the recipients of those services.

(iii) The likelihood that the proposed project will result in system change or improvement.

(b) Quality of the project design (25 points).

(1) The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the proposed project.

(2) In determining the quality of the design of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable.

(ii) The extent to which the design of the proposed project is appropriate to, and will successfully address, the needs of the target population or other identified needs.

(iii) The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed project involve the collaboration of appropriate partners for maximizing the effectiveness of project services.

(iv) The extent to which the design of the proposed project reflects up-to-date knowledge from research and effective practice.

(v) The extent to which the proposed project will establish linkages with other appropriate agencies and organizations providing services to the target population.

(c) Quality of the project personnel (10 points).

(1) The Secretary considers the quality of the personnel who will carry out the proposed project.

(2) In determining the quality of project personnel, the Secretary considers the extent to which the applicant encourages applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability.

(3) In addition, the Secretary considers the qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of key project personnel.

(d) Adequacy of resources and management plan (20 points).

(1) The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources and management plan for the proposed project.

(2) In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

(i) The relevance and demonstrated commitment of each partner in the proposed project to the implementation and success of the project.

(ii) The extent to which the budget is adequate to support the proposed project.

(iii) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing project tasks.

(iv) How the applicant will ensure that a diversity of perspectives are brought to bear in the operation of the proposed project, including those of parents, teachers, the business community, a variety of disciplinary and professional fields, recipients or beneficiaries of services, or others, as appropriate.

(v) The potential for continued support of the project after Federal funding ends, including, as appropriate, the demonstrated commitment of appropriate entities to such support.

(e) Quality of the project evaluation (25 points). Start Printed Page 56366

(1) The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be conducted of the proposed project.

(2) In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary considers the extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed project.

2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3) , the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.

In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary requires various assurances, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department ( 34 CFR 100.4 , 104.5 , 106.4 , 108.8 , and 110.23 ).

3. Additional Review and Selection Process Factors: In the past, the Department has had difficulty finding peer reviewers for certain competitions because so many individuals who are eligible to serve as peer reviewers have conflicts of interest. The standing panel requirements under section 682(b) of IDEA also have placed additional constraints on the availability of reviewers. Therefore, the Department has determined that for some discretionary grant competitions, applications may be separated into two or more groups and ranked and selected for funding within specific groups. This procedure will make it easier for the Department to find peer reviewers by ensuring that greater numbers of individuals who are eligible to serve as reviewers for any particular group of applicants will not have conflicts of interest. It also will increase the quality, independence, and fairness of the review process, while permitting panel members to review applications under discretionary grant competitions for which they also have submitted applications.

4. Risk Assessment and Specific Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 200.206 , before awarding grants under this competition the Department conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 2 CFR 200.208 , the Secretary may impose specific conditions, and under 2 CFR 3474.10 , in appropriate circumstances, high-risk conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system that does not meet the standards in 2 CFR part 200, subpart D ; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.

5. Integrity and Performance System: If you are selected under this competition to receive an award that over the course of the project period may exceed the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $250,000), under 2 CFR 200.206(a)(2) we must make a judgment about your integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards—that is, the risk posed by you as an applicant—before we make an award. In doing so, we must consider any information about you that is in the integrity and performance system (currently referred to as the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)), accessible through the System for Award Management. You may review and comment on any information about yourself that a Federal agency previously entered and that is currently in FAPIIS.

Please note that, if the total value of your currently active grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from the Federal Government exceeds $10,000,000, the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 200, appendix XII , require you to report certain integrity information to FAPIIS semiannually. Please review the requirements in 2 CFR part 200, appendix XII , if this grant plus all the other Federal funds you receive exceed $10,000,000.

6. In General: In accordance with the Guidance for Federal Financial Assistance located at 2 CFR part 200 , all applicable Federal laws, and relevant Executive guidance, the Department will review and consider applications for funding pursuant to this notice inviting applications in accordance with:

(a) Selecting recipients most likely to be successful in delivering results based on the program objectives through an objective process of evaluating Federal award applications ( 2 CFR 200.205 );

(b) Prohibiting the purchase of certain telecommunication and video surveillance services or equipment in alignment with section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 ( Pub. L. 115-232 ) ( 2 CFR 200.216 );

(c) Providing a preference, to the extent permitted by law, to maximize use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States ( 2 CFR 200.322 ); and

(d) Terminating agreements in whole or in part to the greatest extent authorized by law if an award no longer effectuates the program goals or agency priorities ( 2 CFR 200.340 ).

1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to access an electronic version of your GAN. We also may notify you informally.

If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.

3. Open Licensing Requirements: Unless an exception applies, if you are awarded a grant under this competition, you will be required to openly license to the public grant deliverables created in whole, or in part, with Department grant funds. When the deliverable consists of modifications to pre-existing works, the license extends only to those modifications that can be separately identified and only to the extent that open licensing is permitted under the terms of any licenses or other legal restrictions on the use of pre-existing works. Additionally, a grantee that is awarded competitive grant funds must have a plan to disseminate these public grant deliverables. This dissemination plan can be developed and submitted after your application has been reviewed and selected for funding. For additional information on the open licensing requirements please refer to 2 CFR 3474.20 .

4. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b) .

(b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you Start Printed Page 56367 receive a multiyear award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118 . The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c) . For specific requirements on reporting, please go to www.ed.gov/​fund/​grant/​apply/​appforms/​appforms.html .

5. Performance Measures: For the purposes of Department reporting under 34 CFR 75.110 , we have established a set of performance measures, including long-term measures, that are designed to yield information on various aspects of the effectiveness and quality of the SPDG program. These measures assess the extent to which—

  • Projects use professional development practices supported by evidence to support the attainment of identified competencies;
  • Participants in SPDG professional development demonstrate improvement in implementation of SPDG-supported practices over time;
  • Projects use SPDG professional development funds to provide activities designed to sustain the use of SPDG-supported practices; and
  • Projects improve outcomes for children with disabilities.

Each grantee funded under this competition must collect and annually report data related to its performance on these measures in the project's annual and final performance report to the Department in accordance with section 653(d) of IDEA and 34 CFR 75.590 . Applicants should discuss in the application narrative how they propose to collect performance data for these measures.

6. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award under 34 CFR 75.253 , the Secretary considers, among other things, whether a grantee has made substantial progress in achieving the goals and objectives of the project; whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and budget; and, if the Secretary has established performance measurement requirements, whether the grantee has made substantial progress in achieving the performance targets in the grantee's approved application.

In making a continuation award, the Secretary also considers whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department ( 34 CFR 100.4 , 104.5 , 106.4 , 108.8 , and 110.23 ).

Accessible Format: On request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT , individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format. The Department will provide the requestor with an accessible format that may include Rich Text Format (RTF) or text format (txt), a thumb drive, an MP3 file, braille, large print, audiotape, compact disc, or other accessible format.

Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register . You may access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations at www.govinfo.gov . At this site you can view this document, as well as all other Department documents published in the Federal Register , in text or Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

You may also access Department documents published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at www.federalregister.gov . Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

Glenna Wright-Gallo,

Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

1.  An IEP that supports instructional progress is an IEP that focuses on the academic, vocational, developmental, and social needs of the child and allows the child to benefit from instruction.

2.  A “third-party” evaluator is an independent and impartial program evaluator who is contracted by the grantee to conduct an objective evaluation of the project. This evaluator must not have participated in the development or implementation of any project activities, except for the evaluation activities, nor have any financial interest in the outcome of the evaluation.

[ FR Doc. 2024-15044 Filed 7-5-24; 11:15 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-P

  • Executive Orders

Reader Aids

Information.

  • About This Site
  • Accessibility
  • No Fear Act
  • Continuity Information

Cybo The Global Business Directory

  • Moscow Oblast
  •  » 
  • Elektrostal

State Housing Inspectorate of the Moscow Region

Phone 8 (496) 575-02-20 8 (496) 575-02-20

Phone 8 (496) 511-20-80 8 (496) 511-20-80

Public administration near State Housing Inspectorate of the Moscow Region

IMAGES

  1. Differentiated Instruction: Examples & Classroom Strategies

    differentiated instruction higher education

  2. PPT

    differentiated instruction higher education

  3. differentiated instruction

    differentiated instruction higher education

  4. How to Differentiate Instruction?

    differentiated instruction higher education

  5. The Ultimate Guide to Differentiated Instruction (2024)

    differentiated instruction higher education

  6. 31 Examples of Differentiated Instruction (2024)

    differentiated instruction higher education

VIDEO

  1. Learning Strategies for Exceptional Learners

  2. implementing differentiated learning

  3. How to Use Differentiated Instruction for Teaching Communication

  4. Simulating the Differentiated Instruction Focused on Differentiating Content

  5. First Grade Differentiation

  6. Webinar

COMMENTS

  1. Differentiated Instruction

    Differentiated instruction involves teaching in a way that meets the different needs and interests of students using varied course content, activities, and assessments. ... W.D., Solis, O.J., and Kincade, D.H. (2017). "Differentiating Instruction for Large Classes in Higher Education", International Journal of Teaching and Learning in ...

  2. Differentiated Instruction in the College Classroom

    One concept that higher education should borrow from K-12 educators is differentiated instruction. This is the notion - rooted in the one-room schoolhouse - that multiple forms of learning can take place simultaneously in a single classroom. ... Differentiated instruction addresses differences in student preparation, interests, and ...

  3. PDF Differentiating Instruction for Large Classes in Higher Education

    styles, and cultural backgrounds—K-12 teachers have been using differentiated instruction, supported by research, for decades. While positive results have been shown in K-12 education, the literature to support differentiated instruction in higher education to meet the diverse needs of college students remains inconclusive.

  4. Differentiated Instruction Made Practical

    Students come to the classroom with diverse experiences, understandings, interests, strengths, and needs. Differentiated Instruction Made Practical will teach you the why and how of building differentiated instruction into your daily teaching habits and routines.. Course content includes theory and practice, emphasizing sustainability for instructors and engaging, flexible, deep, and durable ...

  5. Using differentiated teaching to address academic diversity in higher

    Differentiated teaching in higher education. Differentiated teaching is defined in somewhat different ways in the scholarly literature, but the fundamental pedagogy comprises a constructive response to what learners already know (Ismajli and Imami-Morina 2018).Differentiated teaching has been divided into two approaches: divergent, where goals and teaching methods are highly specified to meet ...

  6. PDF "The Course Fit Us": Differentiated Instruction in the College Classroom

    University of North Dakota. As diversity in higher education increases, the one-size-fits-all, teacher-centered, traditional model of lecture-style teaching sets students up for failure. In addition, the strategic rhetoric of blaming students for academic failures keeps the systemic power in place, justifying the current system.

  7. Promoting High-Achieving Students Through Differentiated Instruction in

    Differentiated instruction can be seen as a part of the broader construct differentiation, which not only includes DI during a lesson but also student assessment, evaluation, philosophical aspects, and more general principles (cf. Smale-Jacobse et al., 2019; Tomlinson, 2014).To attain a clear focus despite the fuzzy construct of differentiation (Deunk et al., 2018), we focused the current ...

  8. Differentiated Instruction as an Approach to Establish Effective

    Differentiated Instruction (DI) has been promoted as a model to facilitate more inclusive classrooms by addressing individual learning needs and maximizing learning opportunities (Gheyssens et al., 2020c).DI aims to establish maximal learning opportunities by differentiating the instruction in terms of content, process, and product in accordance with students their readiness, interests and ...

  9. Differentiated Instruction for Equity in Higher Education

    Differentiated instruction is a viable asset-based approach that serves as an engine for learners who face systematic barriers in higher education. It is vital to ensure an equitable digital environment where each student receives relevant experiences that are aligned with their academic goals.

  10. (PDF) Assessing the Effectiveness of Differentiated Instruction

    The two cases demonstrate the utility of differentiated teaching in higher education, challenging the prevalent assumption that differentiated teaching does not apply well to a university setting ...

  11. PDF The Application of Differentiated Instruction in Postsecondary ...

    higher education (such as the curriculum, physical layout, and teaching and testing methods) have created significant barriers to access, retention, and graduation for many students. (p. 106) Differentiated Instruction In contrast to the educational practices that exist in higher education, pedagogy in elementary and

  12. The Implementation of the Differentiated Instruction in Higher

    implementation of differentiated instruction which is an innovative educational strategy, based according to Tomlinson and Imbeau (2010) on the fact that students of the same age. differ in their ...

  13. Differentiated Instruction for Equity in Higher Education

    Through intentionally equitable and inclusive practices in higher education, such as Differentiated Instruction, instructors play a crucial role in improving learning outcomes and increasing course completion and graduation rates for students who have historically and systematically faced barriers to an equitable education.

  14. Teachers and differentiated instruction: exploring differentiation

    Differentiated instruction (DI) is a well-known and practice-proven approach that responds effectively to the diverse students' needs (Coffey ... school (Gymnasium): type of school that provides diligent general education qualifying students for entrance to higher education. Since in Germany ability tracking is the standard in secondary ...

  15. Differentiated instruction

    Multiple learning. Differentiated instruction and assessment, also known as differentiated learning or, in education, simply, differentiation, is a framework or philosophy for effective teaching that involves providing all students within their diverse classroom community of learners a range of different avenues for understanding new information (often in the same classroom) in terms of ...

  16. PDF Differentiated Instruction in Higher Education EFL Classrooms

    state of differentiation in higher education to teach different subject areas, including English for academic purposes. There is a considerable need for a study onthe nature of differentiation in higher education EFL classrooms to further understand how DIcan be used effectively to meet the needs of large a and diverse student population.

  17. Differentiating instruction for large classes in higher education

    While positive results have been shown in K-12 education, the literature to support differentiated instruction in higher education to meet the diverse needs of college students remains inconclusive.

  18. Tips for Making Differentiated Instruction Manageable

    'Content, Process, Product' Latrese D. Younger is an education specialist in Virginia: Differentiating instruction is all about altering the product, process, or content.

  19. Fostering inclusive learning: customized kits in chemistry education

    This study aimed to examine differentiated instruction (DI) in a chemistry classroom. We evaluated how customized pedagogical kits (CPKs) for DI, which aim to overcome alternative conceptions found during chemistry instruction, affected students and teachers. ... The findings indicated the significantly higher averages of self-efficacy beliefs ...

  20. Follow-up Dr. Katie Welch on Differentiating Instruction in a Mixed

    A defining feature of differentiated instruction; ... but simplify for lower level learners and expand the difficulty for higher level; ... LINCS System is maintained under contract with CivicActions with funding from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE), under Contract No. GS-35F-337BA ...

  21. Kapotnya District

    A residential and industrial region in the south-east of Mocsow. It was founded on the spot of two villages: Chagino (what is now the Moscow Oil Refinery) and Ryazantsevo (demolished in 1979). in 1960 the town was incorporated into the City of Moscow as a district. Population - 45,000 people (2002). The district is one of the most polluted residential areas in Moscow, due to the Moscow Oil ...

  22. Flag of Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, Russia : r/vexillology

    Animals and Pets Anime Art Cars and Motor Vehicles Crafts and DIY Culture, Race, and Ethnicity Ethics and Philosophy Fashion Food and Drink History Hobbies Law Learning and Education Military Movies Music Place Podcasts and Streamers Politics Programming Reading, Writing, and Literature Religion and Spirituality Science Tabletop Games ...

  23. Applications for New Awards; State Personnel Development Grants

    (4) Supplement core instruction with special education services. In their applications, States must describe how their projects will meet these program requirements. In addition to these requirements, to be considered for funding under this priority, applicants must meet the application and administrative requirements under Common Requirements .

  24. Zheleznodorozhny, Russia: All You Need to Know Before You ...

    Can't-miss spots to dine, drink, and feast. Zheleznodorozhny Tourism: Tripadvisor has 1,133 reviews of Zheleznodorozhny Hotels, Attractions, and Restaurants making it your best Zheleznodorozhny resource.

  25. State Housing Inspectorate of the Moscow Region

    State Housing Inspectorate of the Moscow Region Elektrostal postal code 144009. See Google profile, Hours, Phone, Website and more for this business. 2.0 Cybo Score. Review on Cybo.