Differentiated Instruction
and the Common Core
The Common Core State Standards outline rigorous content expectations with the intent to make all students college and careerready by the end of 12th grade. They have a greater emphasis on the larger endgoal (CCR Anchor Standards for English/Language Arts and the Standards for Mathematical Practice for Mathematics) and are highly supportive of educators differentiating instruction to ensure all students are given every opportunity to meet these overarching achievement goals.
From the Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts…
"By emphasizing required achievements, the Standards leave room for teachers, curriculum developers, and states to determine how those goals should be reached and what additional topics should be addressed... Teachers are thus free to provide students with whatever tools and knowledge their professional judgment and experience identify as most helpful for meeting the goals set out in the Standards."
"The Standards set gradespecific standards but do not define the intervention methods or materials necessary to support students who are well below or well above gradelevel expectations. No set of gradespecific standards can fully reflect the great variety in abilities, needs, learning rates, and achievement levels of students in any given classroom. However, the Standards do provide clear signposts along the way to the goal of college and career readiness for all students."
"All students must have the opportunity to learn and meet the same high standards if they are to access the knowledge and skills necessary in their post–high school lives."
"Instruction should be differentiated: good readers will need much less practice with these concepts than struggling readers will. The point is to teach students what they need to learn and not what they already know—to discern when particular children or activities warrant more or less attention."
From the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics…
“These Standards do not dictate curriculum or teaching methods. For example, just because topic A appears before topic B in the standards for a given grade, it does not necessarily mean that topic A must be taught before topic B. A teacher might prefer to teach topic B before topic A, or might choose to highlight connections by teaching topic A and topic B at the same time. Or, a teacher might prefer to teach a topic of his or her own choosing that leads, as a byproduct, to students reaching the standards for topics A and B.”
“What students can learn at any particular grade level depends upon what they have learned before. Ideally then, each standard in this document might have been phrased in the form, ‘Students who already know A should next come to learn B.’ …. Learning opportunities will continue to vary across schools and school systems, and educators should make every effort to meet the needs of individual students based on their current understanding.”
Common Core State Standards
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