Curriculum modifications are interventions made to a student’s instructional program to adjust for their cognitive, social or physical abilities. Modifications are often used as accommodations for students with disabilities or special needs, as well as for those who are gifted or talented.
There are eight common types of curriculum modifications that teachers and educators can use for their students. Each type provides a range of adjustments to meet the educational needs of an individual, a small group or an entire classroom.
1. Instructional Methods
Instructional methods are the techniques used to guide student learning. Adjustments to instructional methods involve changing the process of teaching and learning. This includes shifting from traditional delivery of a lecture to a more hands-on, interactive lesson.
Different topics may be covered through simulations, books, discussions or project-based learning. For example, a science research assignment could be divided into several parts, allowing the student to work through the steps sequentially in order to complete the task.
2. Relevant Content
Another type of curriculum modification is changing the content of the material being taught. This involves adjusting the level of difficulty and/or the number of topics covered in a lesson.
An individual student may require material to be simplified or broken down into discrete steps, while a gifted student may need additional content to challenge them. For a whole class, lessons could include more visuals and/or examples to further explain a topic.
Adjusting a student’s timeline for completing a task is another type of curriculum modification. Longer periods of time may be allowed for a student to learn a new concept or complete an assignment. This could involve taking extra days or weeks to finish a project, allowing students to break it into smaller achievable parts.
Alternatively, faster timelines can be used for gifted students by allowing them to work ahead at a pace that suits them.
Additional support may be necessary in the form of extra help or tutoring. This may include providing a trained teacher’s aide or having a volunteer come in to work with the students one-on-one or in small groups. In the classroom, the teacher can switch to a more collaborative learning style instead of relying on independent work.
This can allow the students to receive individualized guidance as they work through an assignment.
5. Curriculum Structure
The structure of the curriculum may need to be modified for some students in order for them to benefit from the material. For example, a group of students who struggle with fine motor skills may benefit from a multi-sensory approach or use of manipulatives. Main points and objectives can also be broken down further into more simple tasks.
Assessments can also be modified in a variety of ways. These modifications may include removing certain components of the test, allowing longer periods of time to finish, or restructuring the test format. Additionally, changes can be made to the grading criteria or types of questions used.
Technology can be used as a tool to make the curriculum more accessible. Text-to-speech software, special keyboards, and other assistive devices can be used by students with physical challenges to make learning easier.
For visual learners, presentations and diagrams can be used instead of written text.
Finally, the learning environment can be changed for some students by creating quieter or more secluded locations. This type of change can be helpful for a student who is easily distracted or has difficulty focusing.
Having discussed the eight types of curriculum modifications, it is important to note that these interventions should be tailored to the individual student to ensure a successful result. Every student has their own strengths and weaknesses, it is up to the teacher to know their students best and come up with modifications that meet that student’s particular needs. Furthermore, it is important to be flexible and make adjustments as needed in order to promote student success.