In order to effectively use Differentiated Instruction to improve student outcomes, it’s important to implement a sound strategy from the start.
Identify struggling classrooms.
Testing will give you a general idea of which classrooms are excelling and which may need help. This will be your starting point, but it’s imperative to avoid relying solely on tests. To effect real change, you need to drill down further into the reasons why these classrooms are struggling. It is by regularly observing these classes and educators that you will be able to glean the more-detailed insights into each class’s unique performance issues, which is critical to the next step.
Implement corresponding Differentiated Instruction techniques.
By regularly performing thorough observations, you will be able to see not only which classrooms’ students are struggling, but also why they are struggling.
Once you’re able to see the problem, you can more effectively assign the most appropriate Differentiated Instruction techniques to each class. This will make the difference between trying DI techniques at random versus making calculated steps toward improving student outcomes.
Measure and act.
Using the data from your walkthroughs to analyze teachers in detail, you can accurately gauge the progress being made in each classroom. This will tell you what you need to know in order to make informed decisions and any necessary changes.
Whether these changes include working more closely with a teacher or providing data to HR to support personnel actions, you will be moving forward toward increased student success based on the numbers.
Individual progress is district progress.
Finally, stay positive and don’t succumb to the temptation to feel overwhelmed. When you consider the number of students and classes throughout your school or district, it can be easy to get discouraged. But, keep in mind that each time you help even a single teacher to improve, you’re helping an entire room full of students, and each of those students — once they find their footing and are able to keep up — will contribute to the overall success and graduation rate of your school.
Interested in Differentiated Instruction, but don’t think it’s logistically feasible at your school?