Medieval Village Project: Differentiation

In the Handbook for the Inspection of Schools published by OFSTED, differentiation is defined as "The matching of work to the differing capabilities of individuals or groups of pupils in order to extend their learning."

Whether a class is setted or mixed ability, it will have a range of different abilities. In their published reports OFSTED have made it clear that differentiation involves recognising the variety of individual needs within a class, planning to meet those needs, providing appropriate delivery and evaluating the effectiveness of the activities in order to maximise the achievements of individual students.

The Yalding Village Project is an attempt to provide a systematic approach to differentiation. I have identified nine different strategies for delivering differentiation in history.

Differentiation by Content

The pupils study different materials within the same topic area but do the same activities.

Differentiation by Activities

The pupils study the same content but do different activities.

Differentiation by Negotiation

The pupils study different materials within the same topic area and also do different activities. Teachers help pupils to select appropriate materials.

Differentiation by Support

The pupils study the same materials, do the same activities, but receive different amounts of support from the teacher or from extra printed information.

Differentiation by Extension

The pupils study the same materials and do the same activities. Extension work is given to the most able after they have finished the basic activities.

Differentiation by Response

The pupils are set open-ended assignments that can be interpreted at different levels.

Differentiation by Group Work

The pupils work in mixed ability groups. Pupils help each other by working together and interpreting the tasks at different levels.

Differentiation by Gradation

The pupils are given the same information and activities. The activities become progressively more difficult. The pupils work through the activities at different rates and therefore only the more able do the more difficult tasks.

Differentiation by Role

The pupils carry out different activities depending on the role they are playing in a simulation. The roles are matched to the abilities, aptitudes and needs of the pupil. The worksheets are differentiated by content, activities, extension, response, support, gradation, group work and role. In an attempt to help you maximise the potential of the pupils in the class I have coded all the worksheets. This coding is based on the readability levels of the sources as well as the level descriptions addressed by the questions on the worksheets.

LA/CA below average achievers/differentiated by content and activities

HA/CA above average achievers/differentiated by content and activities

GRA all abilities/gradation

RES all abilities/response

GRO pupils work in small mixed ability groups

ROLE work will depend on the role the pupil is playing

EXW/S extended writing with extra support materials available

SUP support materials

EXT differentiation by extension

CAC contemporary accounts for extension work