Differentiation is nothing new for teachers. Clearly, the days of pitching your teaching to the middle ability level of your class alone are long gone. However, I thought I’d shared these two anonymised work samples from a recent Year 3-6 spelling placement test our students completed. Sample A shows a student who’s at one end of our range. It was pleasing for us that they got the initial consonant sound for the first word, because we’ve done a lot of work with them on this as part of their individualised plan. Sample B is a up the other end of the spectrum, and shows a student who has a mastery of phonemic and morphographic spelling that far exceeds most adults (one just has to peruse the comments on any social media site to be confident this is true).
Catering for both ends of the spectrum, and everything in between, is what we expect our teachers to do. That’s a complex job that requires a high level of expertise in lesson delivery, instructional language and classroom management to pull it off. It’s why teachers that routinely pull it off are superheroes!
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the student responsible for Sample B is a in a year level below the one who completed Sample A.