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EEX 4294 Differentiation vs UDL

EEX 4294 Differentiation vs UDL

Jacklyn Dougherty

DI scholars have used the expression, "Fair isn't also equal" What does this expression mean to you?

The phrase “Fair isn’t also equal” in differentiated instruction implies that it is not fair to all students to provide them with the same curriculum and instruction techniques. Equity and equality mean that every student should get what they deserve to succeed in school regardless of whether it is the same for all of them (Ferlazzo, 2019). The idea of equalizing everyone and providing them with the same resources and instruction does not take into account the variety of backgrounds, levels of readiness, interests, learning styles, and needs of students. Differentiated instruction assumes that there will be diversity among students and that there should be a conscious effort to meet the needs of all students.

How does Differentiated Instruction provide equity in classrooms?

Differentiated instruction promotes equity because it ensures that there are many ways to learn from the beginning instead of assuming that everyone learns the same way. Teachers employ formative assessment data to understand and appreciate learner diversity. They design appropriate respectful activities, learning supports and classroom procedures to meet the varying levels of student readiness, interest and learning preferences.  Instructional content, processes, products and learning environments are intentionally differentiated to meet the needs of learners. Students have choices in how they approach and engage in the essential ideas through various entry points, sequences and levels of learning. This proactive design ensures that each student has equal chances of acquiring knowledge, skills and confidence.

What is one way that UDL offers more opportunities for student engagement?

One way in which UDL can offer greater engagement opportunities is through the “Multiple Means of Engagement” principle (Dzaman et al., 2022). This includes the deliberate selection of options to cater for various interests, provide adequate challenges, and enhance motivation for all learners. Examples include offering choices among appropriate topics of study, varying the perceived risk and safety levels, using culturally appropriate examples, using adaptive computer programs, and manipulating sensory stimuli. UDL classrooms can help learners maintain effort and persistence by providing them with multiple means of engagement and motivation based on their interests, cultures, and dispositions as learners. The flexibility caters for different learners in ways that are real to them as individuals.


Ferlazzo, L. (2019, November 17). “Fair Is Not Equal” (Opinion). Education Week.

EEX 4294 Differentiation vs UDL
EEX 4294 Differentiation vs UDL

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