Publication Date


Document Type



Master of Arts in Education (MA)

MA Concentration

Special Education Autism Spectrum Disorder


Differentiated instruction, check out slips, leveled assignments


Linda Haymes, Pamela A. Redmond, Jim O'Connor


Differentiating instruction can be a very difficult task. Teachers are asked to follow a pacing guide in order to teach all of the standards in a timely fashion. The speed of the pacing guide is typically too fast and students who struggle tend to fall behind. Not only is the speed of instruction too fast, our expectation that students comprehend the material being taught at that grade level does not meet all students' needs. Training students to differentiate for themselves could free up time for the teacher to address those students who are falling behind, therefore attempting to close the achievement gap.

This system was developed to help students with and without special needs in a general education classroom. The system would allow students to differentiate their own instruction by using a check out slip to determine the most appropriate leveled assignment. The participants in the study were three classroom teachers along with their fifth grade students, totaling 86 participants for this study.

Although the data did not present a concrete understanding of whether students are able to differentiate their own instruction, it did show that students are capable of differentiating their own instruction given enough time to practice and utilize the system implemented in this study. In the future there are several recommendation for further development. First, integrate and implement the use of check out slips and leveled assignments from the beginning of the school year. Second, make sure the general education teacher is utilizing the various levels of assignments to re-teach to those who have not grasped the concept being taught. Lastly, compare results of Special Education students with the result of general education students.