Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

Differentiation in maths

About this Illustration of Practice

The teacher describes how she led an initiative to rethink the way her school taught maths. As part of this process, she adopted a team teaching approach with colleagues. Lessons are designed to meet the specific learning needs of students. In this lesson, a data collecting activity has been presented in three different ways to make it both accessible and challenging to all  ability levels in the class. Students choose the task most appropriate to their level. Students reflect on their learning at the end of the lesson, which provides valuable information for the teacher about their activity choices.

Standard 2
Know the content and how to teach it
Focus area 2.2
Content selection and organisation
Career stage
Lead initiatives that utilise comprehensive content knowledge to improve the selection and sequencing of content into coherently organised learning and teaching programs.
Other descriptors
Standard 3
Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning
Focus area 3.1
Establish challenging learning goals
Career stage
Demonstrate exemplary practice and high expectations and lead colleagues to encourage students to pursue challenging goals in all aspects of their education.
  1. How have professional discussions impacted your classroom teaching?
  2. What strategies do you and your colleagues use to differentiate in the classroom?
  3. How could you support students to set challenging and appropriate learning goals?
Learning area
Year level
Year 6
Australian Curriculum content descriptions
Sunshine College
Year level
Year 7
Year 8
Related subject
Stage of schooling
School type
School location
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Sunshine College is culturally diverse, co-educational, secondary school situated across 5 campuses in Melbourne. Teachers at Sunshine College are expected to effectively integrate Numeracy and Literacy development into all of their teaching and learning practices and to create innovative approaches to teaching and learning. These innovations are based on or derived from the understanding that students learn best through research & development processes and realistic applications. Staff have worked together to develop a “core plus” instructional model that allows for domain specific innovation and creativity but is underpinned across all domains by five core instructional practice principles: learning Intention articulated, readiness for Learning determined, activities that target individual success, quality Feedback, and reflection. The performance and development culture is based around professional learning teams where curriculum is collaboratively designed and consistently delivered.

© Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), 2014 (except where indicated under acknowledgements). You may use, reproduce and adapt this material for educational purposes until 30 June 2019, provided you retain this notice and all acknowledgements associated with the material.