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This tool is meant to guide the thinking of teachers and educational leaders in identifying key strengths and needs related to best educational practices. It emphasizes best practices in education for all students, and specifically directs educators’ attention to particular needs of student populations that are often overlooked in traditional classroom settings (e.g. poor and racially or culturally diverse students). The guide is framed by the five key principles of Carol Tomlinson’s Differentiation Model. The elements in this model are affirmed by researchers in multiple fields of education, including the recent work of John Hattie who has synthesized over 800 meta-analyses of evidence-based research regarding factors that impact student achievement (2008). Therefore, the model provides an effective frame under which the needs of all students can be addressed, but also builds on this frame to consider the ways in which the key needs of traditionally overlooked students can be addressed.
This tool is meant to promote ongoing professional growth. It provides a common language, facilitates discussion, provides a cohesive way to target various aspects of educational practice in professional development efforts, and guides teacher work towards best educational practice.