# 12.2: Differentiation vs. scaffolding

- Page ID
- 87536

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Element |
Traditional Example |
Differentiated Example |
---|---|---|

Practice |
A math teacher explains how to calculate slope to the entire class and gives students fifteen problems to practice. | A math teacher pre-tests students to determine their understanding of critical mathematical skills and then arranges students into groups based on their learning progress and understanding. Some students work online to practice the skills, some work in groups with the teacher, and some work individually with occasional teacher support. |

Process |
In an art class, students complete the following activities in order: write an artist statement, critique a peer’s work, and then compile artifacts for a portfolio of their art. | Students determine the order in which they will write an artist statement, critique a peer’s work, and compile artifacts for a portfolio of work. Some tasks can be done at home and some in class, and some can be done collaboratively and some individually. |

Products |
In a social studies class, students write a four-page essay arguing a position related to free speech that uses supporting evidence drawn from historical and contemporary sources. | Students may elect to write an essay, op-ed, or persuasive speech, or they may create a short documentary arguing a position related to free speech that uses supporting evidence drawn from historical and contemporary sources. |

Content |
In English class, students read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and discuss the messages it conveys about race and racism in the United States. |
Students choose between The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Invisible Man to discuss different messages about race and racism in the United States. The three groups share their knowledge with each other. |

Assessment |
In a math class, students take an exam and are given a percentage grade based on how many answers were correct. | Students take an exam and receive feedback on which mathematics standards they have mastered, which standards they are making progress on, and which standards need more attention. The feedback suggests remedies for students with learning gaps and new projects for students who have mastered all the required skills and knowledge. |

Grouping |
Students are either grouped as a full class or they work independently most of the time. | Teachers use grouping strategies to address distinct learning needs. Students may be working independently, in small groups, in pairs, or using technology. Some groupings are by choice and some are assigned based on common learning needs. Some groupings or individual students work closely with the teacher and others have more independence. |

Interest |
In a social studies class, the teacher assigns a single topic, such as the Civil War, for a unit or project, and all students research the same historical event. | The teacher poses a question, such as “Why do nations go to war?” Students may select a military conflict that interests them most and address the question in different ways—for example, one student may choose to read historical literature about World War II, while another student may research films about the Vietnam War. |

Readiness |
In an English course, the teacher plans out the course topics and reading assignments in advance, and all students work through the same series of readings, lessons, and projects at the same pace. | The teacher evaluates students to determine what they already know, and then designs lessons and projects that allow students to learn at different levels of difficulty, complexity, or independence. For example, teachers may determine reading levels and then assign a variety of texts, reflecting different degrees of difficulty, to ensure an appropriate level of reading challenge for each student. |

Learning Preference |
In a math course, every student receives the same problems and assignments, which are all structured in the same way. | The teacher assigns a topic: solving quadratic equations. Some students choose to work with a software program that uses visual representations and simulations, other students work in teams and solve a series of problems from a book that increase in difficulty, and still others watch an online tutorial that can be viewed multiple times until the concept becomes clear. |