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Feb 6 / Carl Sorgen

Teaching a Range of Academic Readiness

How can you turn the challenge of teaching students with a wide range of academic readiness into an opportunity?

Lecture Course

Connect learning to students’ prior knowledge, experiences, and interests.  Helping students to make meaningful connections with what they already know provides a foundation on which to build new knowledge and skills. They are more likely to apply the course content in meaningful ways.

Vary your assessments.  If possible, give students choices in how they demonstrate their mastery of the course content where appropriate.  Allow students to submit their assignment as a blog post, a journal entry, an experiment, a short video, an article, a poster, to name just a few options. Through this type of assessment students have more flexibility to work on their interests and needs, and then share their findings with the group.

Vary your instructional strategies.  Some instructors on campus have found it beneficial to incorporate more active learning strategies to effectively teach students with different academic readiness. For example, project-based learning helps students to deepen their understanding of a topic while working interdependently with peers as a part of a small group.

Consultants in the Office for Teaching and Learning are available to meet with you in person, by phone, or virtual meeting spaces (e.g., Skype or Blackboard Collaborate) to discuss strategies for teaching students with a range of academic readiness. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the OTL at 313-577-0001 or email

Use the comment section below to let us know what strategies you have found most useful when you anticipate needing to respond to a range of student readiness in a course!