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Ashfield Public School

Ashfield Public School

Every child, every opportunity

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Excellence in differentiation increases student engagement and learning outcomes


Educational delivery must ensure that all students can engage in learning that is appropriate to their learning style and ability. This is known as differentiation and involves quality whole-school organisational practices and quality teaching practices that meet individual needs and improve outcomes for all students.

Differentiation through quality whole-school organisational practices involves the strategic use of resources. This includes:

o    systematic testing to collect assessment data.

o    a Learning Support Team which analyses assessment data and monitors student progress across the school years including identifying learning gaps and special needs.

o    allocating physical spaces in the school to accommodate different activities such as music tuition, small group learning, and collaborative classrooms for team teaching and the inclusion of students with disability.

o    deploying teachers and Student Learning Support Officers (SLSO’s) to run school-wide programs for students requiring additional or specialist support.

o    a range of initiatives such as across-class and across-grade groupings for literacy and numeracy.

Differentiation through quality teaching practices involves providing the right level of challenge for each student. This includes:

o    creating the shared mindset between teachers, students and parents that all students can learning and achieve growth when given the right support and learning pathway.

o    making classrooms stimulating and conducive to learning, and places where students feel valued, safe and supported to take risks with their learning.

o    pitching the content and the instruction ‘at or just above’ each student’s developmental level.

o    embedding intercultural perspectives into lessons and enabling students to make connections to their existing knowledge and develop new understandings.

o    providing multiple means of representation to give learners various ways of acquiring information and providing multiple ways for them to show what they know.

o    applying a ‘Teaching Up’ approach where the learning progression starts with basic concepts and skills through to proficiency and mastery which allows all students to have an individual entry point.

o    individualised and small group targeted learning interventions for identified students when learning gaps are evident.

Differentiation creates a whole school culture whereby a very high priority is given to understanding and addressing the learning needs of all students and making judgements about the learning capability of the individual becomes a feature of every teacher’s practice. Effective differentiation enables a school to raise the performance of all students, including students with disability, students who are falling behind, and students who are ahead of year level expectations.

With differentiation, educational delivery becomes responsive and adaptable to circumstances and needs. With differentiation, schools become places with more effective programs and innovative strategies that keep every student engaged and learning successfully.