Differentiation strategies for mastery

Differentiation strategies for mastery

Mastery means going beyond knowledge recall - we expect deep understanding, application, and analysis. It also means differentiating in a big way so that all students can reach mastery - not just high attainers. How do we do it in our Complete Mastery course? Take a look at our differentiation strategies …

Learning in stages

First we break a topic into stages. These 5A stages provide a clear path to take students from where they are to a mastery level.


Each stage has its own learning demand. We adapt it based on what research tells us about student differences.


Activate: differentiate for prior knowledge

Many year 7 students lack essential prior understanding. If we don’t fill the gaps, they will just memorise the new stuff, and be unable to apply it.

Look at the Check task for Particles

It tells what prior knowledge students have. You then give some students the Explain task for re-learning, while others get a Stretch task for extension.

Acquire: differentiate for thinking

GCSE requires students to think scientifically and use maths. Unless students learn these skills along side the content, from year 7, they won’t happen.

Look at the Explore task for Particles

It gets students actively involved in the modelling process, to help them make sense of the idea of Particles.

Assess: differentiate for learning rate

We often stop teaching before some students have had enough time to learn. The only way to know is to inject another checkpoint.

Look at the Check task for Particle Model!

The diagnostic quiz tells you who didn’t get it, and pinpoints their errors. You can give these students steps for re-learning.

Look at the Stretch task for Particle Model!

Those who passed Check task move on to a stretch task.



Comments (1)

Jon Tarrant - Jul 02, 2022

Excellent to see multiple levels of differentiation. It’s easy to think about prior knowledge (using whole-class discussion) and using exit tickets to see how well the content has been understood but mid-lesson differentiation is too easily overlooked.

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