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Tiered: Lessons and Assignments. February 2009 TAG Office 503-916-3358 www.tag.pps.k12.or.us. 1. In our last episodes…. Characteristics of Gifted Students Grouping Strategies. The Big Picture. And Now…Back to our regularly scheduled program. We bring you Tiered Assignments.

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Tiered lessons and assignments

Tiered: Lessons and Assignments

February 2009

TAG Office 503-916-3358



In our last episodes

In our last episodes…

Characteristics of Gifted Students

Grouping Strategies

And now back to our regularly scheduled program

And Now…Back to our regularly scheduled program

We bring you Tiered Assignments

Tiered assignments lessons or activities
Tiered Assignments (Lessons or Activities)

Tiered assignments are a differentiation strategy wherelearning tasks and projects are developed, based on assessed student need.

Tiered assignments are intended to provide a better instructional match between students and their needs.


At the end of this tag episode
At the end of this TAG Episode

Participants will

  • Define Tiered Lessons (or Activities)

  • Experience a Tiered Activity

  • View multiple ways to Tier

Teachers vary

TASK for different levels

PROCESS for different levels

PRODUCT appropriately to demonstrate learning

Why Tier?

  • Students arrivewith varied

  • Cultural and linguistic backgrounds

  • Learning opportunities and experiences

  • Interests

  • Readiness levels


Tiered chocolate activities
Tiered Chocolate Activities

Make a list of descriptive, sensory and/or comparative words to describe your chocolate.

Create 3 SIMILES to help someone understand how you feel about your chocolate.

Create a warning label to attach to your chocolate.

Finish these analogies:

Chocolate is to stress as ___________

Is to ___________________.

Chocolate is to happiness as ________

Is to ___________________.


There are multiple methods for designing tiered assignments

There are multiple methodsfor designing Tiered Assignments

Tier by….

  • Challenge level (Depth)

  • Complexity

  • Resources

  • Outcome

  • Process

  • Product

In designing a standards based tiered lesson
In designing a Standards-based tiered lesson:

  • Start with grade-level standards, concepts or skills

  • Modify the content into two to three progressive levels of depth and complexity

  • Differentiate by process, product, resources or outcome

Research, Interview, Read book, Use Internet….

Perform, create, present, write….

Example of an elementary tiered assignment grade 1 insects
Example of an Elementary tiered assignment: Grade 1- Insects

THE STANDARD L3. Explain why plants and animals reproduce their own kind

Strategic: Observe and show structures of an insect larva and of an insect adult (mealworm, wax worm, milkweed bug, silkworm or butterfly)

On-level: Show the life cycle of a wax worm (mealworm, milkweed bug, silkworm or butterfly)

Advanced: Compare the stages of the life cycle of a wax worm to the life cycle of another insect


Example of a mid level tiered assignment grade 4 land and water
Example of a Mid-level tiered assignment:Grade 4- Land and Water

Create an informational brochure meeting E2 Standard: Identify causes of Earth’s surface changes—Identify effects of wind and water on Earth materials using appropriate models:

  • Strategic: informs classmates about how land features (shape of the land, angle of slope) affects the flow of streams and amount of soil runoff.

  • On-level: informs classmates about how land features and human activities (dams, removing/planting vegetation) interact to affect the flow of streams and erosion and deposition.

  • Advanced: presents various positions about human activities affecting water quality and makes a recommendation


Example of a high school tiered assignment within a standard
Example of a High School tiered assignment within a Standard:

HS.1 Structure and Function:

HS.1.PS.1 Describe the atomic model and explain how electron configuration is related to the Periodic Table and to chemical properties.

Compare and contrast the atomic model, electron configuration and chemical properties of an alkali metal, halogen, and noble gas and explain the placement of each in the periodic table.

Based on the atomic model, electron configuration and chemical properties of an alkali metal, halogen, and noble gas, explain the placement of each in the periodic table and create a method for describing the chemical properties of other elements based on their relative position to these elements in the periodic table.

Tiered by resources
Tiered by Resources Standard:

When you choose materials at various reading levels and complexity of content, you are tiering by resources.

Use this when there is an activity in which varied resources could be matched with student needs and readiness.

This tiering option can be presented as a choice to students, based on their different learning styles and preferences.


Examples of elementary tiering by resources
Examples of Elementary Tiering by Standard:Resources

  • Leveled reading books

  • Different print resources: newspapers, newsletters, magazines, or primary sources such as diaries and journals

  • Different technological resources: computer programs, web searches, etc.

  • Interviews: work with community mentor

    or expert in a particular field

Tiered by product
Tiered by Product Standard:

At times, you may form groups based on learning preferences.

Once again, giving students options to show their understanding helps them feel more in control of their own learning, thus providing incentive to produce quality products.

Example of an assignment tiered by product
Example of an assignment tiered by Standard:Product

Choose a way to represent the main character in the story:

Musical- Develop a song/rap to represent the main character.

Verbal/Linguistic- Write an acrostic poem describing the main character.

Logical- Diagram the main character’s relationship with others in the book.

Product brainstorm
Product Brainstorm Standard:

  • Go-Around One Protocol

    • Person 1 reports one idea that he/she has recorded.

    • While person 1 reports, other group members listen attentively, but do not question or comment.

    • When person 1 finishes, person 2 reports one of his/her recorded ideas while rest of group listens attentively.

    • Repeat until all group members have reported.

    • The group discusses ideas that were reported.

Using a teacher s edition for support
Using a Teacher’s Edition for Support Standard:

  • Does the activity help the student reach the standard?

  • Is the activity basic or advanced?

  • Do the suggested extensions offer more depth and more complexity, or just more work?

  • Are there multiple activities that provided opportunities for tiering the

    content to support the standard?

Caution: Standard:

Be sure that the tasks you design are truly more advanced and not simply MORE work.

How do tiered activities meet the needs of special ed esl gifted and general ed students
How do tiered activities meet the needs of Special Ed, ESL, Gifted, and General Ed students?



Matches individual need to content


Rubrics Gifted, and General Ed students?

General enough to apply to all tiers

Key concepts are clear and included

The Standard that students need to meet is clear

Students understand how the varied activities, resources, products, etc help them demonstrate key concepts or State Standards

Make sure the key concepts are

evaluated separately from the

quality criteria


Rubrics Gifted, and General Ed students?

The Standard that students need to meet is clear.

Key Concepts are included, but general enough to apply to all tiers.

Regardless of assignment, activity (or “tier”) students understand how their work demonstrates the standard.

Quality, Effort, or Career Related Learning Standards (CRLS)

Criteria for Quality of Product, Measured Effort, or CRLS is separate from the evaluation of proficiency in meeting the standard.

Neat, Organized, On-Time work is recognized, but not directly tied to meeting the Standard.

Additional resources for tiered assignments
Additional Resources for Gifted, and General Ed students?Tiered Assignments

Differentiating Instruction in the Regular Classroom by Diane Heacox

How to Differentiate Instruction in the Mixed-Ability Classroom by Carol Ann Tomlinson

Tiering Assignments & Compacting Curriculum: It’s for Everyone! By Lynda Rice


Take away packet
Take-Away Packet Gifted, and General Ed students?

All of the handouts provided in your Take-Away Packet are available from our website


Look in Educator Resources

Resources for Tiered Assignments

Tiered Assignments ppt

K-5 w/common message