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Disability Standards for education 2005 and Differentiation

Along with considerable changes in the identification and funding of students

with a disability, reviewed by Conway, R.N. (2013), the Disability Standards for
Education (2005) legislation ensures that students with disability are able to
access and participate in education on the same basis as other students. Under
this legislation, education providers are obliged to meet the standards for
curriculum development, accreditation and delivery by, taking reasonable steps
to ensure that the course or program is designed in such a way that the student
with a disability is able to participate in all learning experiences and assessments
of the course or program. These legislative standards of equal rights to
education reflect the true value of applying differentiation and inclusion
philosophies as essential practice to ensure inclusive participation in education
for all learners. The Disability Standards describe the process of taking
reasonable steps as, consulting the student with disability and in response,
make ongoing necessary adjustments to their learning program which ensure
participation in all course or program learning experiences, on the same basis as
other students. These suggested processes are key principals of differentiation
and inclusion applied through the use of pre-assessment which establishes prior
knowledge and student readiness and identifies learning groups as Tiers Jarvis
(2015). The legislation requires education providers to include measures for
compliance with standards which strongly reflect philosophies of differentiation
and inclusion strategies. Examples of this include, providing alternate formats of
study materials and adjusting teaching and delivery strategies to meet learning
needs by using Process Logs of task instructions presented as manageable
chunks and checklists to promote student organisation and ownership and
accessible task instructions in students first language Jarvis (2015). The course
or program delivery modes and learning activities take account of intended
educational outcomes and learning capacities and needs of the student. This
measure is directly applied to differentiation philosophies, effective
differentiation is informed by ongoing assessment Jarvis (2015), which observe
and respond meaningfully to all student learning diversities and provide ongoing
inclusive participation in meaningful high quality curriculum tasks, appropriately
challenged to all individual learning needs, while remaining consistent with the
overarching learning objectives Jarvis (2013). Informing student readiness is
easily achieved by closing a lesson with Exit Cards which provide meaningful
feedback while also providing learners an opportunity for self and peer
evaluation to promote growth mindsets in an inclusive learning environment and
class community. Cummings (2000) example of differentiating learning activities
in response to this measure is the option of presenting students with a Choice
Board, RAFT or Learning Menu of task activities Jarvis (2015). In this approach,
main dishes must be completed while side dishes offer opportunities to further
challenge other learners where appropriate to meet each learners needs and
comply with the Disability Standards. According to Tomlinson (2005),
differentiation is a flexible approach to teaching where the teacher undertakes
various methods regarding the content, processes and production of their
lessons in order to cater for student differences in readiness, learner profile and

learner interest (Tomlinson, 2005). The purpose of the Disability Standards

legislation is consistent with the purpose of a differentiated classroom, to provide
students with equal opportunities to engage in learning tasks by permitting
students to demonstrate mastery of material they already know and to progress
at their own pace through new material (Tomlinson, 2003). The Australian
Curriculum ACARA (2015) framework is consistent with its commitment to equity
by identifying student diversity and students with disability and providing advice
on meeting diverse learning needs with personalised learning.