Unit 3: Primary Level

3.1 Curriculum domains relevant for primary level - Curriculum transaction - personal, social, academic, occupational and recreational at primary levels

3.2 Curricular adaptation in integrated and inclusive settings for functional academic concepts.

3.3 Curricular planning for group learning with peer influence

3.4 Curricular planning for models – cooperative learning, peer tutoring etc

3.5 Evaluating curricular outcomes






3.1 Curriculum domains relevant for primary level - Curriculum transaction - personal, social, academic, occupational and recreational at primary levels

Children between the age group of 6 to 9 years are considered as belonging to the primary level. Due to the intellectual impairment, children with mental retardation show delays in all developmental areas, which reflects in learning academics and deficits in adaptive behaviour. Hence curricular emphasis should be learning skills and behaviours that are necessary to function independently as far as possible and in a socially acceptable manner.

Curriculum for the primary group is an extension of that of the pre-primary class. Therefore emphasis will continue to be on the areas like self-help, language, communication, social, functional academics, domestic/occupational and recreational skills. The extent of coverage of activities to be stressed at primary level again depends on the exposure and achievement at the pre-school level by the children and also the activities have to be age appropriate.

Personal skills
Personal skills include eating, drinking, toileting, bathing, dressing and grooming. However, to perform these activities, other skills such as motor (gross motor and fine motor) and language and communication skills are also required. Take the example - take water from the water filter and drink. The girl has to walk to the kitchen, identify glass and take the glass, open the tap (finger grasp) fill the water, close the tap and drink. Another example is when the family goes to their friend’s house and the girl feels thirsty, she has to tell her mother (communication) that she needs water. Therefore, we need to remember that skill areas are not isolated, but they all overlap.

Eating and drinking

Specific skill related points


Toileting skills: Teaching of toileting skills should happen at appropriate time in school and at home.

Bathing skills: Teaching of bathing skills is generally done at home by parents/family members as it may not be possible for teachers to teach bathing skills in day care centers. Inform parents/family members on the following points:

Brushing: This activity can be taught in schools after lunch to those children who have difficulty in brushing teeth.

Dressing skills: Dressing activities include removing and wearing clothes including unzipping/zipping, unbuttoning, buttoning, unhooking and hooking and tying lace/ribbon.

Grooming skills: Applying oil, combing hair, applying powder, fixing bindi (in case of girls) wearing chappal/shoes are all activities to be taught under grooming. Generally, by the time children are 8-9 years, they learn all the above mentioned activities by themselves through observational learning. However, children with mental retardation need to be taught all the activities using special methods.

1.     Ribbons of 3 colours fixed on undo grill.

2.     Wool of three colours.

3.     Wool of same colour.

4.     False hair.

5.     Plaiting other’s hair.

Social skills:
One of the characteristics of children with mental retardation is inappropriate behaviours which make them look different in groups. In addition, due to lack of proper socializing skills with the age appropriate groups, they tend to play with younger children. Therefore, they need to be taught the manners group behaviour in various situations and environments.

Language and Communication skills
Language and communication is a medium for socialization. As discussed earlier, due to intellectual impairment you notice developmental delays in all the areas of development among children with mental retardation. One of the developmental areas is language and communication.

Occupational skills

To prepare an individual with mental retardation for independent living, training in overall development of skills is important. Occupational skills include activities such as cooking, shopping and house keeping. However, the curriculum content at primary level will be minimum when compared to secondary and prevocational level.
Shopping and travel skills are interrelated, ie., if one has to go for shopping, he/she has to go using the right mode of travel to the respective place. Therefore, a teacher can select related curriculum content in both the areas for teaching. For example, if students are taught to read and write numerals from 1-5. The teacher can teach identifying and naming rupee notes/coins and using money to buy things which costs within Rs.5. Reading price tags, selecting item and paying bills, all with your support.

Involve in domestic activities such as washing plate, glass and tififn box, wiping the table, sweeping the floor, dusting separating vegetables and placing them into boxes/plastic bags.

Arranging for breakfast, lunch, dinner by placing plates, glasses and serving water, can form part of the routine.


3.2 Curricular adaptation in integrated and inclusive settings for functional academic concepts.


Functional reading is defined as a student’s actions or responses resulting from reading the printed word.
The following are the goals of reading for persons with mental retardation.

The primary goal is the development of their ability to read for protection – sign boards, labels, directions and so on (concept of survival).

The second goal is teaching them reading for information and instruction – newspaper, telephone book, job application and so on.
The third goal is giving training in reading for pleasure – magazines, comics, story books.

All persons with mental retardation may not be able to achieve all the three goals. Some may achieve one of the goals and some may achieve all of the three goals It depends on the severity/level of mental retardation i.e., the ability/capacity to understand and learn the tasks. Further, children to become effective readers they must be able to.

        see a clear and unblurred image projected on the flash card and hear the sound of the letters and words uttered (auditory-visual sensory input).
distinguish one symbol from another and recognize these differences consistently (auditory-visual perception).

        remember the sounds or images of the symbols in sequence (auditory-visual memory).

        relate these symbols to meanings based on experience and synthesize the visual and auditory clues with the meaningful words for integrative learning (language symbolization).

Teaching Reading
Various approaches have been used by professionals in teaching reading to children with mental retardation. Among them whole word approach is extensively used.

Whole word approach (sight word/paired reading)
Whole word approach is a widely used method in teaching functional reading. Through the whole word approach, the students learn to recognize and read words and later receive decoding instructions (to spell). A variety of strategies have been used in teaching sight word vocabulary. Recent attention has been focused on the imagery level of the word to be learnt. High imagery words are usually concrete and include nouns such as ball, mango, fan and house. Low imagery words include abstract terms such as beautiful, good and have. In some instances, high imagery can be provided for low imagery words by using the word in context. For example, consider the word “sour”, “I ate mango. It is sour”, becomes more concrete and students can remember better. Pairing of words with concrete objects and/or pictures will facilitate development of a high imagery level in the students. Here, the concrete word `mango’ helps in learning the abstract word `sour’. Following are the steps to be followed while using whole word approach. When we are teaching any concept to children, we follow three steps – matching/grouping, identification and naming.

Error analysis in generalization

The sustained ability for generalization does not just lie in analysis of success achieved, but also in that of the errors committed. When a student performs consistently a certain task after structured training, he is exposed to a non-trained condition, which will have certain similarities to the trained conditions. When the learnt response is performed in a non-trained condition, errors may occur. The teacher should be sensitive to the factors that contribute to the occurrence of the error and the ways in which they can be prevented. For example, we teach `3’ and help the child to discriminate `3’ from 5, 7, 13, 30, 53 and so on. The student understands that when the symbol ‘3’ appears all by itself, only then it is called ‘3’. On a clock dial, when the child is asked to identify 1, he is right when he shows 1 after 12 but not at 10, 11 and 12 as the latter have accompanying numbers with them. This approach would limit to prevent errors from occurring right in the beginning during the acquisition stage itself, thereby making generalization easier. This helps in differentiating similar looking words and similar sounding words.
Teacher should


One of the important modes of communication is written expression. Writing demands eye hand coordination, motor coordination, sense of direction and recognition of symbols pictures/letters/numbers/words/ punctuation and so on). Some writing tasks demand horizontal writing (left to write as in writing words) and some demand vertical writing as in arithmetic (addition, subtraction) and some demand a combination of both as in statement sums.

Teaching Writing
Teaching writing involves four stages. They are:

1.     Tracing

2.     Joint dots (if needed)

3.     Copying

4.     writing from memory (including learning spelling).


We are in daily contact with situations which require the use of number skills. For example, when we buy half a dozen bananas from the fruit vendor we glance at the bunch to check whether it contains six bananas or not. We use number skills in various settings such as at home, in community and at work place - how many plates to place on the table, which bus number to take to reach work place, how much is the bus fare, how long it takes to reach office and so on.

Strategies for arithmetic instruction

Before beginning with numbers, make sure, the child is aware of pre-math concepts such as more-less, far-near, heavy-light, tall-short-long and so on.

The following are the points to be considered while planning and teaching arithmetic skills.

        The content should be arranged in a sequential order for which the task analytic approach
is applied.

        Concrete materials should be used while teaching to provide meaning for the concepts.

        The selection of materials should be such that they can be used meaningfully both inside and outside the school environment.

        The programme should be structured in such a way that there is a gradual transition in teaching concepts moving from concrete to semi-concrete and abstract levels.

        Instruction must be practical and functional with special emphasis given to a social and
vocational orientation.

        Sufficient practice should be given to deal with the concepts in variety of ways to ensure

        Additional opportunities should be provided to generalize the skill to a variety of experiences to note similarities and to establish associations and relations among their experiences.

        Practical experiences and situations should be provided for the application of numerical
skills. However, care should be taken in planning the application of number skills to the real life experiences that they should have relevance to the world in terms of the individual child’s needs.

        A programme must be flexible enough to meet the individual needs of students.

Teaching number concepts
Prior to the teaching of number concepts, we need to understand the level of mathematical conceptual development in children. For this, Piaget’s developmental theory provides approaches to understanding student’s mathematical performance. According to this theory the student requires to understand the basic concepts such as classification before he proceeds to learn counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Classification is the process which involves grouping of objects based on the defined characteristics that is likeness and differences. The ability to group objects according to common characteristics should be acquired in the process of developing the concept of number. To understand this initial skill the students may take a long time. Some of the strategies are given below for planning the instruction:

(a) provide as many opportunities as possible to students to classify and sort out the concrete
    objects (for example, household things, vegetables, fruits, clothes, etc.)

(b) To begin with, objects with obvious differences should be presented for classification (for
     example, spoon, ball, apple, banana, onion, chilli). Gradually the variety and the number of
     objects may be increased.

(c) As the student progresses pictures are to be introduced to replace real objects.

Ordering means putting objects in a series according to the      size or the number. This is another major concept children with mental retardation should  understand in order to grasp the idea of number (different sizes of spoons, plates, utensils, nesting cups).

Ordering by Number
Ordering of objects by number may be introduced when  students begin to see the differences in numbers. Once the students perceive the difference  between two sets, more sets may be introduced and should be arranged in order. If the students do not see the difference, ask them to line up objects side by side to see which one  has more. Later picture cards may be introduced for ordering numbers.

One-to-one correspondence

One-to-one  correspondence is the basis for counting with comprehension. It refers to the student’s ability to relate a unit in one group or set to a unit in another group or set, regardless of the possible dissimilarity in the characteristics of groups. Correspondence is vital for the subsequent teaching and learning of addition and subtraction.

Teaching this concept can be initiated first by introducing two sets of three-dimensional objects, each of which contains the same number of objects. Then the student will be asked to match an object in one set with an object in another set. Gradually the number of objects in the set may be increased with variation in terms of shape, size and colour.

Practical activities such as setting the table for the class or for the family, playing a game of musical chairs and so on, can be planned for teaching the concept. After having considerable experience with concrete objects, you can introduce worksheets for teaching.

Strategies for teaching pre-computational skills

While teaching counting, you may ask students to count familiar objects within their immediate classroom environment such as number of tables, chairs, windows, doors, books, etc. During lunch break, ask students to count their classmates for placing plates, glasses, and spoons for eating food.

Cardinal and ordinal numbers
Cardinal number answers the question “How Many”. Whereas the ordinal number indicates the position. Make children to stand in a row. Ask who is standing in the first/second/fourth position (ordinal). Also ash how many of them are standing in a row (cardinal). Teachers can plan many more activities in the classroom and outside to teach the concept.

Writing number symbols
The techniques employed in any symbol-writing task may be used in teaching students to write the numerical symbols, that is, tracing, copying and reproducing from memory. Rough textured numerical symbols, for example, sand paper symbols provide good tracing device.

Teaching addition and subtraction

Piaget points out that addition is the basic operation upon which all other computational operations are constructed. Therefore, it is important that you plan out instruction for the clear understanding of the concept of addition. The activities in the initial stage of teaching should be very concrete. Before the symbols of plus (+) or equal to (=) are introduced, the concept has to be developed using familiar objects and situations. For example, if we have 4 books and 3 pens (concrete objects) how many objects do we have? If we have 3 green pencils and 2 red pencils how many pencils do we have?

Subtraction is the opposite of addition. The procedures described in teaching simple addition can be used in teaching simple subtraction. The concept of groups should be used in the beginning of teaching subtraction. Instruction should proceed from total use of concrete objects to abstract forms as described under simple addition. Verbal statements will help to emphasize the process at all stages. Before introducing the terms `minus’, the terms `take away’ and `left over/balance’ should be used when the children are engaged in subtraction activities. The use of zero in simple subtraction should emerge in the same relative sequence as it did in addition. Constant focus on the use of the groups and the concept of any empty set will help the notion of zero to develop.

It is also important that the students understand when the process of addition or subtraction is to be used. For this, early experiences in addition and subtraction should be combined with activities which will help the students develop a firm understanding of number.

Teaching carryover and borrowing sums
Students should have the understanding of place value if they have to do two and three digit place addition and subtraction and particularly when it involves carrying over and borrowing. For teaching this concept, the teacher can use the place value box. This is a small plywood box with three equal sided compartments into which sticks are inserted. The compartments are appropriately named “ones”, “tens”, and “hundreds”. In the introductory stages the activities should focus on experiences with manipulating objects.

The next stage in teaching place value is carry over of the earlier instruction involving combinations and grouping. At this point, the students must understand that whenever the “ones” compartment reaches ten, the group of object is to be bound together (with a rubber band) and place in the tens compartment.

Further the youngsters with mental retardation may continue to need concrete objects even when they reach secondary school level. If students require such devices, they should be allowed to use them. As the students learn to do simple carry over sums, teacher can introduce addition which requires the carry over of two digit numbers and eventually introduce hundreds column. Students can also be encouraged to use the calculator for minimum operations for arithmetic calculations.

The fundamental principles used in teaching borrowing are same as those used in carrying over. Hence, these two operations should be taught in close continuity. Place value box can be used for teaching borrowing. Make the student understand that borrowing involves breaking down of tens into ones and relocating them in the ones compartments.

Moreover, opportunities should be provided to employ the skills in practical situation. Montessori material designed for teaching place value, carryover and borrowing can also be used in teaching the concepts.

Teaching multiplication and division
Many children with mental retardation do not reach this level. However, never give up without trying. Multiplication is a short cut for addition and division is a short cut for performing successive subtraction. The students who show certain potential to learn simple multiplication may be introduced to the process by first adding three numbers example, 2 + 2 + 2 = 6. The next step is to make students regroup as 3 twos or two times three to make 6. For this students may use the multiplication tables or counting during the initial stages of instruction.

While teaching the concepts of division place emphasis on the notion that the division is the process of breaking up of large group into a number of smaller but equal groups. `Fair sharing’ is the concept that the students should understand. For example, we have 6 flowers and there are 3 children. How many flowers can each child have? Students may work with multiplication or token counters until the idea or equal groups is firmly established.

Strategies to teach time, money and measurement
Time, money and measurement are simply applications of mathematical concepts in daily living and hence very essential for students with mental retardation.

Instruction about money should follow a sequence throughout students education. Practical and real life experiences should be provided for the application of skills. Moreover, the instruction has to be planned in such a way that each student’s needs in terms of utility are met.

The sequence for teaching money is as follows:

Real money should be used to teach rupee notes and coin recognition and change making and to make use in simulated purchases of various items. For example, a student has Rs.5 and purchases an item for Rs.3, he determines how much change he has to receive. The teacher does not have to worry about transference of learning from play money to real money, if he uses real money in the first stage of learning. Teacher should also take them to nearby shops/supermarkets for purchasing items as a part of instruction. This would help in minimizing the problem of generalization of learned skills.

A workbook using pictures of real money provides interesting work for many students. The workbook should include activities on recognition of rupee notes and coins, relative value of rupee notes and coins, deriving correct change from purchases of various items and such other exercises.

For older children, the use of pay cheques, saving accounts and home budgets may be taught. Home budgeting may be taught using ditto sheets of bills and statements for utilities, rent, food and clothes. Basic book keeping skill also may be taught, to help them in keeping a home budget. During the process, the students to maintain home records, filing receipts and so on.

Banking skills also should be taught directly. The student should learn how to deposit and withdraw money, write and maintain a saving account.

Currency based token economy
Alternative to workbooks or a simulated unit on money is a currency-based token economy in the classroom. Token economies are usually developed to motivate students to do their work or to control disruptive behaviour. A currency based economy may be used effectively to teach counting, tending exact change and the relative value of the money. It provides an environment that promotes decision making regarding the safe keeping of money, what can and cannot be purchased with money on hand, how to save money and other concepts. At the vocational level, students can be paid for coming to class on time, punching in and out, getting to work quickly without delay and doing accurate work.

The first instruction in time should be to develop an understanding on the concept of time as a unit and as a sequence of events. A pre-requisite to telling time is an understanding of time itself. Concepts of today, tomorrow, yesterday, next week and so on are basics to understanding time. Next, students need to understand that certain things happen at certain times, like lunch break and end of class. The schedule of events greatly aids in teaching time.

The sequence for teaching time

One way of teaching, how to tell time is to have the child count from 1 to 60 on a number line. The child then superimposes 1 to 12 on the 1 to 60 lines (the 1 to 12 number line should be the same actual length as the 1 to 60). Counts off every five minutes, and marks them in different colours. This number line is then placed on a large clock with the hands removed or on a teacher made clock face of the appropriate size without hands.

The 1 to 60 number line will correspond with the minute markings on a clock and the 1 to 12 number line will correspond to the hour making on a clock. This will help the child understand the function of the clock face. This will help the child understand the functions of the passage of time in minutes. When this concept is understood, the hour hand may be attached and used to indicate how may times the minute hand has gone around. Knowing multiplication table 5 is helpful here. Teacher may also use digital watches for teaching time.

The use of quarter, half and one litre and gallon containers will help in developing an understanding of volume. Initially students may be allowed to measure the water, sand, etc. with the measuring cups. The students may be given practical experience of measuring water for making hot drinks measuring milk etc.

The concept may be introduced first by finding out the weight of each student and maintaining a weekly record. Activities of various types, which involve measuring the weight of flour, sugar, dhal and other commodities will provide a first hand experience of using weights. These activities may be incorporated in teaching home skills (cooking) to students.

In the beginning students may be asked to measure the area of books, tables, doors, windows etc. with a stick. Also draw lines on the floor and ask students to measure with a scale or with feet. Most youngsters with mental retardation will find it difficult to learn the measurement vocabulary and its use in metres, centimeters, millimeters of yards, feet, inches. However, the potential students may be taught if there is any practical use of the skill in the working situation.


3.3 Curricular planning for group learning with peer influence

Individualized instruction - one teacher to one student is often recommended. However, individualized instruction, i.e., instruction appropriate for a particular individual, can be achieved with one teacher to students in groups also.

When a teacher has to write a detailed IEP for a whole class, it becomes a load on her. Further, a special teacher for mentally retarded student may have a diploma after XII class and may not have language competency in writing while she may be a good classroom teacher. To ease her load without compromising on documenting needs, the assessment tools like FACP and MDPS provide programming sheet. These have provision for recording relevant individualized programming information briefly for each child and carry out classroom teaching.

Sequential instruction and/or concurrent instruction are used while teaching groups of students. In sequential instruction, the teacher rotates from one student to another briefly teaching each student individually. The students in the group may be taught the same or different skills. Alternatively the teacher may sometimes give general instructions or demonstrations at the same time to all students in the group before beginning sequential instruction. Usually, sequential methods of group instruction are more suitable to students functioning at a low level of ability.

In concurrent group instruction, several students are grouped close together. All students are taught by the teacher at the same time. This is the usual form of group instruction. The following points should be kept in mind when the teacher plans concurrent instruction.

a. Students in the group must be at the same range of general level of achievement.
b. They should be able to learn from the same methods of teaching and they must have relatively well developed language skills (verbal or manual) and they must be able to imitate a teacher’s demonstration.

Depending upon the group and ability of students, the teacher can practice either sequential instruction or concurrent instruction.

3.4 Curricular planning for models – cooperative learning, peer tutoring etc

Cooperative learning is an educational approach which aims to organize classroom activities into academic and social learning 
experiences. There is much more to Cooperative Learning than merely arranging students into groups, and it has been described as "structuring positive interdependence."Students must work in groups to complete tasks collectively toward academic goals. Unlike individual learning, which can be competitive in nature, students learning cooperatively can capitalize on one another’s resources and skills (asking one another for information, evaluating one another’s ideas, monitoring one another’s work, etc.)

There are several benefits of cooperative learning structures for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities are more engaged in classroom activities where cooperative learning structures are in place compared to more traditional classroom interventions. Specifically, in inclusive classes that use cooperative learning, students articulate their thoughts more freely, receive confirming and constructive feedback, engage in questioning techniques, receive additional practice on skills, and have increased opportunities to respond. Further, when students are thinking aloud while discussing, teachers are better able to assess student and group needs and intervene if needed. That is, by actively monitoring students’ learning, teachers are able to redirect groups toward learning tasks and provide reteaching during mini-conferences as appropriate. When structures are in place for this level of dialogue to occur, it accelerates the comprehension process 

According to Stevens and Slavin (1995), students with disabilities are more likely to be at instructional level and have positive learning outcomes when explanations and models are provided by their peers. These benefits and quality learning are realized only when both the general and special education teachers are committed to the learning structures that benefit all students.

Cooperative learning challenges some people’s beliefs about education. Cooperative classrooms represent a shift from traditional lecture-style classrooms to more brain-friendly environments that benefit all learners.

From traditional to cooperative learning.

The basic considerations for structuring cooperative groups include (a) group size, (b) clear learning goals, (c) direct instruction of group procedures, (d) mixed-ability groupings, and (e) individual and group accountability.

Size: Recommended group size varies from two to four students. The smaller the group, the higher the engagement levels. Groups consisting of three students are often difficult to manage because they leave one student out of the dialogue at any given time.

Clear learning goals and direct instruction of group procedures: Teachers who get the best results from cooperative learning groups directly teach students how to interact prior to the group leading their own learning. The assignment of roles within the groups also focuses the students on the specified learning goals. 

Mixed-ability groupings: Ncube’s (2011) research showed that flexible mixed-ability groups have advantages over homogeneously grouped students because the higher achieving students can mentor the students who are struggling with a particular skill or concept. At the same time, the students who are more competent with a particular skill deepen their own learning by applying higher level thinking skills while assisting others to achieve.

Accountability: Students need individual as well as group goals to promote cooperation. The need to feel “We are in this together!” and the ability to rely on their teammates are essential for student learning. Teachers, and eventually peers, need to provide feedback on progress toward group and individual goals. This gradual release of responsibility leads to more engaged and independent learners.

Cooperative learning within inclusive classrooms requires thoughtful planning and implementation to yield the highest impact for all students

Peer tutoring

Peer tutoring in special education is a strategy where higher performing students are paired with lower performing students or students with disabilities to review or teach academic material. This strategy has been proven to help students on both sides master content and gain self-confidence in specific skills. Peer tutoring has been implemented with students of all ages and levels in all subject areas. Introducing a peer tutoring program to help students with disabilities and their typical peers may be an effective and efficient way to boost academic achievement. Teachers and administrators should consider the different ways to implement a program as well as the advantages and weaknesses as they determine whether a peer tutoring program would be a good fit in their schools and classrooms.

Classwide Peer Tutoring (CWPT):  Classwide peer tutoring involves dividing the entire class into groups of two to five students with differing ability levels.  Students then act as tutors, tutees, or both tutors and tutees.  Typically, CWPT involves highly structured procedures, direct rehearsal, competitive teams, and posting of scores (Maheady, Harper, & Mallette, 2001).  The entire class participates in structured peer tutoring activities two or more times per week for approximately 30 minutes (Harper & Maheady, 2007).  While the procedures and routines in CWPT remain the same, student pairings or groups may change weekly or biweekly.  In CWPT, student pairings are fluid and may be based on achievement levels or student compatibility.  Students may

Cross-age Peer Tutoring:  Older students are paired with younger students to teach or review a skill.  The positions of tutor and tutee do not change.  The older student serves as the tutor and the younger student is the tutee.  The older student and younger student can have similar or differing skill levels, with the relationship being one of a cooperative or expert interaction.  Tutors serve to model appropriate behavior, ask questions, and encourage better study habits.  This arrangement is also beneficial for students with disabilities as they may serve as tutors for younger students.

Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS):  PALS, a version of the CWPT model, involves a teacher pairing students who need additional instruction or help with a peer who can assist (Fuchs, Fuchs, & Burish, 2000).  Groups are flexible and change often across a variety of subject areas or skills.  Cue cards, small pieces of cardstock upon which are printed a list of tutoring steps, may be provided to help students remember PALS steps (Spencer, Scruggs, & Mastropieri, 2003).  All students have the opportunity to function as a tutor or tutee at differing times.  Students are typically paired with other students who are at the same skill level, without a large discrepancy between abilities.

Reciprocal Peer Tutoring (RPT):   Two or more students alternate between acting as the tutor and tutee during each session, with equitable time in each role.  Often, higher performing students are paired with lower performing students. RPT utilizes a structured format that encourages teaching material, monitoring answers, and evaluating and encouraging peers.  Both group and individual rewards may be earned to motivate and maximize learning.  Students in RPT may prepare the instructional materials and are responsible for monitoring and evaluating their peers once they have selected a goal and reward as outlined by their teacher.

Same-age Peer Tutoring:  Peers who are within one or two years of age are paired to review key concepts.  Students may have similar ability levels or a more advanced student can be paired with a less advanced student.  Students who have similar abilities should have an equal understanding of the content material and concepts.  When pairing students with differing levels, the roles of tutor and tutee may be alternated, allowing the lower performing student to quiz the higher performing student.  Answers should be provided to the student who is lower achieving when acting as a tutor in order to assist with any deficits in content knowledge.  Same-age peer tutoring, like classwide peer tutoring, can be completed within the students’ classroom or tutoring can be completed across differing classes.  Procedures are more flexible than traditional classwide peer tutoring configurations.

Advantages of Peer Tutoring

Peer tutoring in special education can be an effective teaching method for all students involved. Let's look at some of the specific advantages.

Disadvantages of Peer Tutoring

Although peer tutoring has many strengths, there are also challenges that should be considered.

3.5 Evaluating curricular outcomes

Comprehensive assessment of individual students requires the use of multiple data sources. These sources may include standardized tests, informal measures, observations, student self-reports, parent reports, and progress monitoring data from response-to-intervention (RTI) approaches (NJCLD, 2005). Reliance on any single criterion for assessment or evaluation is not comprehensive, nor is a group assessment, such as universal screening or statewide academic assessment tests, sufficient for comprehensive assessment or evaluation.

The purpose of a comprehensive assessment and evaluation is to accurately identify a student's patterns of strengths and needs. The term assessment is used in many different contexts for a variety of purposes in educational settings including individual and group, standardized and informal, and formative and summative. Some professionals use assessment broadly to include both assessment and evaluation. We are differentiating assessment and evaluation to underscore the sequence, procedures, and decisions involved in a comprehensive process.

Assessment is used in this paper to refer to the collection of data through the use of multiple measures, including standardized and informal instruments and procedures. These measures yield comprehensive quantitative and qualitative data about an individual student. The results of continuous progress monitoring also may be used as part of individual and classroom assessments. Information from many of these sources of assessment data can and should be used to help ensure that the comprehensive assessment and evaluation accurately reflects how an individual student is performing.

Evaluation follows assessment and incorporates information from all data sources. In this paper, evaluation refers to the process of integrating, interpreting, and summarizing the comprehensive assessment data, including indirect and preexisting sources. The major goal of assessment and evaluation is to enable team members to use data to create a profile of a student's strengths and needs. The student profile informs decisions about identification, eligibility, services, and instruction. Comprehensive assessment and evaluation procedures are both critical for making an accurate diagnosis of students with learning disabilities. Procedures that are not comprehensive can result in identification of some individuals as having intellectual disabilities when they do not, and conversely, exclude some individuals who do have intellectual disability.

Teacher evaluation systems often deal with all teachers and students in the same manner — regardless of individual interests, priorities, or needs for support. These systems can be complicated, time-consuming, and inefficient. In addition, standardized or third-party assessments to measure student learning are often unable to capture evidence of teaching practices that promote 21st century skills, student engagement or constructivist teaching and learning.

·        The term differentiated evaluation is used to describe the impact of pedagogical differentiation on evaluation practices.

·        Differentiated evaluation is rooted in the value of equity and is connected to the third orientation of the Policy on the Evaluation of Learning.

·        Differentiated evaluation allows teachers to better plan their interventions in light of the various needs of their students.

·        Differentiation does not stem from an individualized approach to learning. It must not lead to the abandonment of the fundamental values of evaluation, including justice and equality.

Under section 19 of the Education Act, the teacher is entitled, in particular, to “select methods of instruction corresponding to the requirements and objectives fixed for each group or for each student entrusted to his or her care.” The teacher may decide on the nature of the methods of instruction to be implemented in the classroom, in order to take into account the particular needs and requirements of a student who has an individualized education plan.

The teacher may decide, therefore, to make changes to the learning and evaluation situations in order to take into account the student’s needs. For example, this may mean changing the level of difficulty of complex tasks, the performance requirements and even the evaluation criteria to take into account the student’s individualized education plan established by the school principal.