Resources for Teachers: Differentiation and Accessibility

To make your work in the classroom accessible and effective for as many students as possible, use planning and classroom time for the following four steps (A-D). These are proven effective steps that you take for ALL students. They fit within a larger set of 5 program steps for making adult education accessible to all (see illustration at bottom).

A) Differentiating Activities and Planning for Accommodations

Plan 5 activities to repeat with your students that will engage many different kinds of learners. The following two tools will help you do this. They contain the same information in two formats. Try the spreadsheet (xls) file first. In some cases a student with a disability will ask the program for specific accommodations in the classroom. The program should pass information about the students’ needs to you for use in planning before class starts.

AE CCRS Class Planning Tool (XLS) for Use June 2017

Class Planning Tool as Plain Document

also useful for reference in class planning: Adult Ed CCRS Quick Reference List

If a student has disclosed a disability, and you are researching accommodations for their specific circumstance, both of the following sites offer strategies based on specific disabilities:

try: LD (Learning Disabilities) Online  which is K-12 oriented

or: JAN (the Job Accommodations Network) which is oriented to the workplace and includes all kinds of disability.

B) Orient your students to the classroom and help them identify if they can see materials and hear and communicate with you and other students

image of part of self check sheet

image of part of self check sheet


Student Communication Self-Check




C) A few weeks into class: look over notes on student participation and evaluate their progress (the spreadsheet tool above includes a page for these notes).

If a student is struggling, this is a good time to check in with the student or support staff about possible barriers and strategies to overcome them.

D) A week (or two) before the end of class work with the student to review their progress.

Some programs have these discussions worked into their process. Consult with your program to understand how they document student progress and what feedback you can discuss with the student to help them understand.

This link leads to a 2 page pdf file that combines the steps above with the diagram below:

5 Steps That Make Adult Ed Accessible to Students with LD

Diagram of steps programs and teachers can take to make adult education accessible to students with disabilities.

Diagram of steps programs and teachers can take to make adult education accessible to students with disabilities.