Susan T. Dinnocenti
University of Connecticut
A recent issue of the NRC/GT Newsletter (Dinnocenti, 1998) contained an article that featured definitions of Renzulli’s (1997) Five Dimensions of Differentiation. This article provides a list of additional terms and definitions commonly associated with differentiation.
Acceleration- The opportunity to be grade skipped, cross-grade grouped, explore independent studies, complete 2 years in one, early entrance to kindergarten, etc.
Assessment- Methods to determine mastery or prior knowledge of skill or content. Common methods used include pre-tests, performance based, oral, written, or observational assessments.
Compacting- Determining goals of curriculum, assessing student mastery, and providing enrichment opportunities.
Curriculum- District or state agreed upon content areas that are organized by goals and objectives for each grade level K-12.
Differentiation- Matching the given content area with a student’s interests, abilities, and learning styles through various instructional strategies.
Enrichment- Activities related to student’s curriculum or interest area that involve higher level thinking skills and guided problem solving.
High Ability- The capacity to see abstract relationships, make connections through critical analysis, and formulate original hypotheses.
Individualized Instruction- Customizing the curriculum to student’s learning style, social-emotional concerns, interests, abilities, potential, creativity, and task commitment.
Instructional Style- Method of delivery used by teachers to stimulate learning within and beyond the classroom.
Modification- Changing the existing curriculum either by expanding the depth or breath of the content area.
Objectives- Outcomes or behaviors that students attain by becoming successfully involved in the learning process.
Zone of Proximal Development- Difference between actual developmental level in independent problem solving and the potential developmental level with scaffolding or guidance by an adult or more capable peer.