Camera Lens for focusingELA Lens: Differentiation

Differentiated Instruction refers to what teachers do to adapt an existing curriculum for the learners they are actually teaching, so that all their learners are engaged in challenging but accessible tasks.

In making decisions about how to adapt the curriculum, teachers consider what to modify based on what they know about their learners.

What to MODIFY: Content, Process, Product, & Learning Environment

Teachers can modify what is being taught (content), how it is being taught (process), how learners show their learning (product), and the physical or virtual parameters within which instruction occurs (learning environment).

What to KNOW: Learners' Interests, Profiles, & Readiness

In order to effectively modify the content, process, product, or learning environment for their students, teachers can take into consideration their learners’ interests, profiles (learning preferences, culture-based influences, environmental preferences, orientations to group and individual work), and readiness (strengths, weaknesses, and attitudes towards the content).

When making curricular or instructional decisions, ask the following questions:

  • Are there adequate supports to help teachers differentiate instruction to meet the needs of individual learners, including English learners and those with learning disabilities? (e.g., texts at different levels; broad topics or compelling tasks that allow teacher/student flexibility)

  • Are students given choice/agency in how they engage with learning and demonstrate progress? (e.g., options related to content, product, process)

  • Is information/content presented in a variety of ways?        

  • Will students experience multiple kinds of interactions during a lesson? (e.g., whole group, small group, pairs)


  • LINCS on Differentiated Instruction
  • EBRI: Design instruction around student groups base on their reading profiles, determined by diagnostic assessments of reading.
  • CCRSAE: Review the same anchor standard across CCRSAE-ELA levels A-E to understand the developmental continuum and use it to differentiate instruction according to the levels of the students in the classroom.
  • ELA Proficiency Guide
SABES ELA logo of books SABES ELA Curriculum Hub
Topic Area
CCRSAE (College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education)
Curriculum Development
DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion)
Learning Disabilities / Differences
Media Type
Resource Type
PD Center
SABES English Language Arts Curriculum & Instruction PD Center