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Differentiation & Support for Students

Challenging Higher Ability Pupils and Pushing Middle Ability Pupils


  1. Strategy Overview

    Strategy Source


    John Dabell, Third Space Learning


    What is this strategy about?


    In every primary classroom, there will be a range of abilities that will likely change over time. Rather than focusing on only stretching those more able learners among your class, there should be a 'revolving door' of attempts to engage those who could also achieve more. This strategy is designed to help you achieve this. 


    How can you identify a student's potential?


    You should use assessment to identify your pupils’ potential and their prior learning. Your own assessments are important here as previous data won’t necessarily show their current ability. 


    Why is it important to challenge students?


    Challenging students allows them to build skills and forces them to grow and develop academically. This will allow each student to reach their full potential.

    Individuals who believe their talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies, and input from others have a growth mindset, and they tend to achieve more than those who believe their talents are innate (with a fixed mindset).  Encouraging a growth mindset allows learners to improve, as they believe their abilities are within their own control. Hard work, effort, and persistence are all important, but not as important as having that underlying belief that you are in control of your own learning success.

    Challenge is at the core of having a growth mindset. without it, students don't get the opportunities to take risks, learn to fail and figure out how to pick themselves back up again. This sense of progress and responsibility for their own achievements and failures is central to developing growth mindsets.

    Whether you are looking to challenge higher or middle ability learners, you will be giving them the invaluable gift of a growth mindset. This approach will go on to inform their learning, pushing them to succeed and to take ownership of the outcomes because they know they are responsible for their own growth.


    Click here to learn the importance of Achieving Pupils' Depth of Knowledge
  2. Choose this strategy if you want to...
    - Ensure you're pitching to the higher ability pupils.
    - Ensure middle ability pupils are challenged to achieve higher.

    Interested in this strategy?


    If you're not already signed up, click here to register for a free account. If you already have an account, click here to choose this strategy as a 6-week initiative. (It only takes 10 minutes to start an initiative!)
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