Differentiated Instruction for Educators

The Accelerated School Administrator Program (ASAP®)

Educators know that differentiated instruction is effective instruction. It is responsive to the readiness, interests, and learning preferences of each individual. Why then do so many school districts provide professional development for educators as adult learners with the one-size-fits-all approach? It’s not for lack of understanding about what works.

All Access Pass


Don’t pay any more per-use fees with a district-wide all access Annual Subscription. Subscription pricing is affordable and provides unlimited access to all of the following ASAP components:

  • The Educational Leadership Assessment
  • All 5 of the InBasket simulator assessments
  • 16 Case Study assessments
  • 18 Course Modules
  • 15 Workbooks
  • Online Forums and more!

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We know that constructivist teaching is based on the belief that learning occurs as learners are actively involved in a process of meaning and knowledge construction rather than passively receiving information. Learners are the makers of meaning and knowledge. Constructivist teaching fosters critical thinking and creates motivated and independent learners.

It is not uncommon for educators to attend conferences and events where they sit in a classroom-like environment, facing the same screen, or enroll in courses where everyone studies the same practices and the same content. Unfortunately, the reality is that this approach is easier to deliver. The beliefs persist that there is not enough time; that everyone needs to be grounded in the same principles and practices; and order and homogeny are required. Too often, overworked and under-resourced administrators can only focus their energy and time on making sure “everyone meets the standard.”

Let’s step back for a moment and apply the definition of differentiated instruction to our own needs as educators. Differentiated instruction and assessment is a framework for effective teaching that involves providing different educators with different avenues to learning (often in the same school or district) in terms of acquiring content; processing, constructing, or making sense of ideas; and developing teaching materials and assessment measures so that all educators can learn effectively.

At the Accelerated School Administrator Program (ASAP), that’s what we do. We provide assessments for school leaders based on the 2015 Professional Standards for Educational Leaders, and the state in which the school or district is located. Data from these assessments, combined with self-identification of needs by the school leader, and observation and other data collected by the district, provides for data-driven decision making about educators.

The assessments are both summative (Educational Leadership Assessment) and formative (InBasket) and provide valuable insights that are linked directly to standards-based learning content (ASAP Course Modules), which can be assigned and accessed online within a blended program, are complementary to locally-offered instruction—providing effective differentiated learning for educators. Add access to a community forum of learners who can share experiences and knowledge, and ask questions and gain insights from their peers, and ASAP provides the core for a district-based, locally administered, differentiated professional development program. It is a resource toolkit in a multi-faceted professional learning strategy.

Data informs the professional development plan. Individualized learning provides differentiated instruction in competencies and practices custom to each learner. Cohort access to the InBasket and ASAP Course Modules based on the district learning plan ensures district needs are met by instruction and assessment in standards-based content areas.

Support your educators the same way you support your students, with differentiated instruction using ASAP® assessments, course modules, online forums and features which can be easily customized for each district.

The Educational Leadership Assessment

The Educational Leadership Assessment (ELA) is a set of multiple choice tests based on the dimensions of educational leadership. The assessment is intended to identify individual strengths within each dimension, and areas of growth, for both potential and experienced administrators. Results can be used to make clear and relevant decisions to guide individualized study in a leadership program and to identify principal candidates by leadership potential and knowledge. The intended participant level for the assessment is primarily individuals holding a Master of Education degree.

Educational Leadership AssessmentThe Educational Leadership Assessment was developed in response to contemporary research investigating leadership assessment instruments. The research clearly showed there was no single test or set of instruments that would assess the full spectrum required by educational leaders. ASAP® met the need by creating a fully aligned and unique set of assessment instruments that have been used by school districts across more than a dozen states for over ten years.

To better understand its design and what the assessment tool provides, please view the video on our YouTube channel.

Go To The ELA

ASAP® Course Modules

There are 18 ASAP® learning content modules available, aligned to the latest version of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium Standards for Educational Leaders.

  1. Shared Vision: This course module provides practical strategies to assist school leaders in creating a learning community that will shape a school’s shared vision, facilitate committees, and establish a climate that supports a collegial and caring environment that enhances student achievement.
  2. Using Data for Teaching and Learning: This course module guides the school leader on effective use and analysis of data to improve student achievement, enhance your skills as an instructional leader, and improve teacher effectiveness.
  3. Assessment and Evaluation: This course module outlines a comprehensive set of tools and processes for the assessment, evaluation and reporting of student achievement. Assessment and evaluation practices must be fair, transparent and equitable for all students, and based on evidence of student learning.
  4. Continuous School Improvement: This module includes a School Improvement Plan Guidebook which details best practices in school improvement planning and the setting of measurable goals.
  5. Instructional Leadership: This module is a guide to independent and collaborative strategies and activities that promote effective instructional leadership.
  6. Leading Teaching & Learning: This module focuses on best practices in leading teaching and learning, including the vital importance of teachers’ organizational skills.
  7. Community & Parent Relationships: This course module provides strategies and best practices for guiding parent involvement and developing sustaining and meaningful relationships with all stakeholders.
  8. School Entry Planning: This module assists new principals, and principals moving to a new school, in being fully prepared for their new leadership role. Questions often raised by new principals are addressed and strategies are provided for common entry issues including pre-entry planning, administrative priorities, a comprehensive schema for analysis of a school, developing stakeholder relationships, and norm sensitivity, among others.
  9. Learning for My Needs

  10. Decision Making & Prioritization: An effective school leader must efficiently prioritize the myriad tasks, decisions, and activities that occur in the daily life of a school administrator. Research shows that leaders who do not succeed are prone to making decisions by default. Strategies and practice are provided for effective decision-making in a variety of everyday and crisis situations.
  11. Collaborative School Culture: The learning environment is made richer through collaboration, community, collegiality, celebration and recognition. Schools foster richer learning environments and set the groundwork for school improvement with an embedded collaborative culture.
  12. Staff Development: Ensuring that well-qualified personnel exist in every classroom is a guiding principle in the life of a school and the purpose of staff development. This module focuses on the importance of leading staff development as a component of school improvement.
  13. Building Instructional Capacity: Education leaders effectively coordinate resources, time, structures and roles to build the instructional capacity of teachers and other staff. This course module focuses on how leadership teams can create site-specific conditions for cultivating ongoing learning among staff to strengthen the quality of teaching and learning, including the social organization of instruction.
  14. Community in the Classroom: This course module focuses on recommended classroom management procedures and routines that help to develop relationships and build community. Cooperative learning, intentional relationships, and character education are components of an effective classroom community where students feel responsible for their learning, and have an obligation to each other and the school.
  15. Operational Leadership: This module examines the managerial aspects of leadership and the significance of efficiency, preparedness, and effectiveness in managing the learning environment. Operational management is vital to the success of a school in creating a safe, orderly, and efficient place to learn.
  16. Professional and Ethical Behavior: Ethical leadership is the demonstration of appropriate conduct through personal actions and relationships and the promotion of such conduct to others through communication, reinforcement and decision making. This course module focuses on the behaviors and attitudes that define ethical leadership.
  17. Diversity: Diversity crosses through and impacts all of the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders. As an element common to all aspects of leadership, it supports academic press and is foundational to productive culture. Education leaders must be aware of the breadth and depth of diversity in the school system. This module describes key concepts, and references guiding legislation, initiatives, and contemporary research related to honoring diversity, promoting human rights, and preventing discrimination and harassment.
  18. Team Building: This course module provides information and describes skills needed for teaming to make a difference at the school site. Effective school teams go through an evolution as they move toward collaboration and productivity. Facilitating higher functioning and higher efficiency means breaking down barriers such as isolation among teachers, and increasing commitment to the school’s mission and vision.
  19. The Skilled Communicator: This course module provides fundamental information, vital strategies, and opportunities to practice effective communication. The module addresses communication through writing, public speaking, nonverbal modes, and in crisis situations. A skilled communicator enhances relationships with parents and the community and helps to create an environment that values diverse cultures.
  20. Transformational Leadership: In education, transformational leaders go beyond the implementation of change. They become driving forces, empowering people and generating enthusiasm for a vision and a process that fuels transformation. This course module presents the specific knowledge, skills and dispositions need by education leaders to transform schools and improve outcomes for the students in their care.
  21. District Administration: This course module is a primer for school principals and educators wanting to consider district administration up to and including Superintendent of Schools as a career path. Research has identified a number of key traits possessed by successful district leaders, and a great deal of data about how they see themselves in their role. This course module will assist the learner in assessing their skills and leadership style, identifying their strengths and similarities to successful district leaders, and reviewing the typical requirements for success at the district level.

To view the syllabus for each course, click on the name of the course above.

Each course module provides an average of 10-15 clock hours for Continuing Education credit but takes up to 42 days to complete (based on our experience working with busy school administrators who have only a limited amount of available time for professional development).

This can be an impractical workload for some cohorts, and therefore professional development leaders typically select one or two modules for educators to work through over the school year, drawing connections to the face-to-face sessions they conduct, and selecting course materials from dimensions that best match the needs of their individual learners.

View All Course Modules

The InBasket Assessment

The InBasket is a simulator made up of a series of scenarios related to the dimension chosen by the participant or the cohort leader. There are five InBasket simulators from which to choose:

  1. Decision Making & Prioritization are two critical skills that define successful leaders. The Decision Making & Prioritization InBasket simulates the issues that face a busy principal each day. Key characteristics of effective leaders are their ability to prioritize a myriad of tasks and make appropriate decisions in response to them. The purpose of this assessment is to gauge your ability to prioritize tasks and responsibilities and to make effective decisions.
  2. Community & Parent Relationships simulates the issues that face a busy principal each day while interacting with the broader school community. Effective school leaders develop and sustain meaningful community and stakeholder relationships, guide parent involvement and effectively engage parents to support and enhance student learning.
  3. Diversity simulates the issues that arise in a diversity-enhanced school. Schools today are comprised of students with an array of distinct characteristics from a variety of backgrounds. They represent a vibrant cross section of America. As the population grows and expands, so does its diversity. The concept of diversity is not one dimensional. It includes and extends beyond what is commonly thought to be place of origin or cultural connections. Some of the sources of diversity include ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, ability, religion, and gender identification. Regardless of the particular source, diversity in any of its dimensions presents both opportunities and challenges.
  4. Cohort Writing ASAP InBasket

  5. Shared Vision simulates the issues faced by a busy principal each day while working continuously to create, sustain and evolve the learning community. Effective school leaders build consensus among all stakeholders of what students should know and do as a consequence of their participation in schools, as well as what it means for students to become well-adjusted, contributing members of society. Building such a vision can require reconciling possibly competing perspectives among diverse members of the school community.
  6. Professional & Ethical Behavior. An educational leader promotes the success and well-being of every student by adhering to ethical principles and professional norms. The effective educational leader nurtures the development of schools that place children at the heart of education; acts in an open and transparent manner; maintains a sense of self-awareness and attends to his or her own learning; and works to create productive relationships with students, staff, parents, and members of the extended school community. It is important to maintain a sense of visibility and be approachable for all stakeholders. The ethical educator acts as a moral compass for the school or district and safeguards the values of democracy, equity, justice, community, and diversity.

To view the details for each InBasket, click on the assessment name above.

View All InBasket Simulators
See How ASAP Fits Into Your District PD Program

Demonstration access is available at no charge to district Superintendents and professional development program leaders who wish to evaluate the program and content through the login information we provide upon request. Access is time-limited so we recommend to reviewers that they only request this access when they have available time to examine the program. Request demonstration access today!

Differentiate Educator Instruction in Your District with ASAP®

Get unlimited access for your district to the entire ASAP program, including the Educational Leadership Assessment, InBasket simulators, Course Modules, Workbooks, and Online Community Forums and make it easy for your PD staff to create differentiated learning plans for every educator in your district. An ASAP Annual Subscription makes this all possible!

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