Readiness is a student's entry point relative to a particular understanding or skill.

Illustrations From The Mathematics Classroom

Parallel Tasks/Tiered Lessons

Tiered lessons are designed to instruct students on essential skills that are provided at different levels of complexity, abstractness, and open-endedness. The curricular content and objective(s) are the same, but the process and/or product are varied according to the student’s level of readiness. Tiering is differentiation according to readiness. The golden rules of tiered assignments include:
  • Determine what is important to know, understand, and be able to do.
  • Develop a tool box of techniques to pre-assess readiness including student self-assessments .
  • Develop the tiered tasks according to pre-assessment results.

"In a tiered assignment, the tasks are highly connected to the concept, [like the concentric circle ripples in water spreading out from a drop.] Some tasks sit closer to the concept while others are farther away. It only makes sense to tier something that is worthy and meaty and has dimensions with different entry points." (Karen Lelli Austin)
external image dropofwater.jpg

Here are some instructional strategies, from the mathematics classroom, that work well with tearing:


Compacting is the process of adjusting instruction to account for prior student mastery of learning objectives. Compacting involves a three-step process:
  1. assess the student to determine his/her level of knowledge on the material to be studied and determine what he/she still needs to master;
  2. create plans for what the student needs to know, and excuse the student from studying what he/she already knows; and
  3. create plans for freed-up time to be spent in enriched or accelerated study.
For example, a class is learning the parts of fractions. Diagnostics indicate that two students already know the parts of fractions. These students are excused from completing the identifying activities, and are taught to add and subtract fractions.

Cubing & ThinkDots

Differentiated Problem Solving Activities

• M.J. Hobbs Senior Public School in Hapton, Ontario in the
Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board in Ontario
• Grade 8
• Mathematics – Proportion
Key Elements
• Cooperative Learning – Group problem solving with a focus on individual accountability – Each student recieved a different but essential piece of information that is required to solve the problem
Differentiation by readiness - problems varied in complexity
• Use of manipulatives

Double Entry Journal

Triple Entry Journal

Tiered Questions (for ELL)

Double Tier: Leveled Books and Leveled Questions

Graphic Organizers

Consider the following questions:
What type of thinking would you like to occur?
Which student needs which tool?