DIFFERENTIATION IN EDUCATION

THIS IS REPOSTED FROM (haroldshawjr.com) on

the case for standardized testingImage bywoodleywonderworks via Flickr
I was going through my feed reader and came across Aaron Eyler’s blog post on

Why Schools Are The Worst Models of Differentiation – Synthesizing Education

When I started studying to be a Special Education teacher back in 2001, I learned that Differentiation of Instruction was the way education should be provided in all classrooms.  It seems that unfortunately, I tended to and still strongly agree with what I was learning – that we should look at how we can educate individual students to perform at their best.

As we have moved forward into the standards based and standardized testing model of education, it has always bothered me that these methods go directly against Differentiating in the Classroom, I just never was able to articulate why until today.

As Aaron stated:

“Call me cynical, but there is something unbelievably funny to me about the fact that people scream about celebrating individual differences among kids yet we want every one of them to be in a specific grade by a specific year and pass the same test at the exact same time. Doesn’t this make you laugh as well…”

I strongly agree with his statement and the rest of his post on this.  This post forced me to think about, clarify in my mind and evaluate my position regarding what is actually going on versus what people want us to believe is going on or should be going on.

Should we stop giving lip-service that Differentiation in Education is actually being effectively used in most of our classrooms?  While it is the official policy that Differentiation is best practice, that policy is being undercut by both standardized testing and standards based educational requirements.

From where I sit, Differentiation is not the basis of the current standardized testing or standards based educational system.  As much as I hate to say it, Differentiating in the classroom in today’s classroom is not part of our reality.

Our standards based assessment and educational system, is based upon what minimum standards should be met – when, instead of focusing on where theindividual student is and how to best move that student forward.
That is really a shame, it should be the other way around!

Others may not agree with me, but the way I see things, when it comes down to actually Differentiating in the classroom, given today’s focus on standardized testing and standards based education system, Differentiation of Instruction is something that cannot be legitimately accomplished in our classrooms.

Unfortunately.

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