What Tools and Resources are Available to Help Me to Differentiate Instruction and Assessment for Students with IEPs/504 Plans?

This resource points to specific Help Center articles and Learning Space resources that can help you differentiate instruction and assessments on the platform to meet the needs of your students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and Section 504 Plans.

For programmatic guidance on curriculum and instruction for students with IEPs/504s, see the Learning Space Curriculum, Instruction, and Programmatic Guidance section.

The following tables summarize the available Help Center articles and technical guidance for customizing learning experiences for students who receive support through an IEP or Section 504 Plan:

Specialized Support Profiles:

Specialized Support Profiles are a tool designed to help support students that receive targeted support (i.e. interventions) or support through an Individualized Education Program (IEP), 504 Plan, or English Language Development program. 

Help Center Article Description
Specialized Support Profiles & Specialist's Hub Overview Specialized Support Profiles provide support specialists and teachers with shared visibility into a student’s areas of needed support, strengths, and progress. These profiles centralize detailed information about each student's support areas and provide specialists and teachers a space to directly coordinate support strategies within the platform. As a result, teachers and specialists can make more informed decisions about providing differentiated support that drives each student’s growth.

How do I use the Specialized Support Profiles?

Specialists can create a Specialized Support Profile for their students. Specialists can indicate if a student needs support in Reading, Writing, Language, Math or Self-Directed Learning Foundations. Once a specialist does this, project and math teachers receive automatic recommendations for which students may benefit from being assigned a differentiated support resource that targets one of the Foundations categories.

As a teacher, you can view the Specialized Support Profile of any student that is in at least one of your classes.

Teachers and specialists can see how one another is planning and implementing supports for each student.

Teachers and specialists can easily access key reference data (e.g., MAP data, student progress in Projects/Units) to help identify appropriate supports and challenges.

How do I use the Specialist’s Hub?

Only users with the Specialist role have access to the Specialist’s Hub. The Specialist’s Hub provides additional features designed to meet the specific needs of support specialists, such as supporting caseload management based on individual student needs.


Projects & Math Units:

Projects & Math Units provide students with opportunities to connect what they are learning to life beyond the classroom, sparking curiosity and enthusiasm for their lessons. Whether they're working on Projects or Math Units individually or together with peers, students learn and refine skills, such as working with a team, interpreting data, or presenting a persuasive argument.

Adding/Removing Project & Math Units Resources: How do I edit students’ Projects or Math Units by adding or removing resources?

Once you've created or copied a Project or Math Unit, you can add or edit the Final Product(s), checkpoints, activities, and resources.

Learners Tab: How do I group students in the Learners Tab

You can use the Learners tab to group students by their previous Cognitive Skill scores, Focus Area data, or MAP scores. You can also group your students by Foundational Skills, including Language, Math, Reading, Self-Direction, and Writing. There are two approaches that can be taken with regard to grouping students who are receiving Special Education support through the Learner’s Tab.

  • Ensure that you have created Foundations groups for all of the domains: Language, Mathematics, Reading, Self-Direction, and Writing. Assign students to domains for which they require scaffolding to participate at grade level. 
  • Alternatively, you may choose to set up Custom Groups and assign differentiated resources and activities to each level.

Once students are grouped together in the Learners Tab, you can tag and assign resources for those groups.

Assigning Differentiated Resources: How do I use Differentiated Resources & Activities in Projects & Math Units?

There are multiple places within the platform where you can assign differentiated resources to specific students or groups of students:

  1. On the Overview page in the Differentiated Resources section
  2. On the Plans page in the Differentiated Resources section
  3. In the Assign Project/Math Unit pop-up window on Step 3: Differentiate Resources

When assigning differentiated resources, you will automatically receive recommendations for which students may benefit from a differentiated support resource. These are based on the groups you’ve created in the Learners Tab, or the learning needs that an educational specialist has identified in a student’s Specialized Support Profile.

Notebooks: How do I use the Text-to-Speech and Voice Typing tools?

Every Notebook includes Text-to-Speech and Voice Typing tools to support the needs of diverse learners. 


Focus Areas:

Students use Focus Areas to develop content knowledge that is foundational to their development of cognitive skills and to practice self-direction.

Help Center Article


Printing Connect Assessments: How do I print Content Assessments?

Printing Content Assessments can help you meet the needs of students with IEPs that require accommodations for printed assessments. 

Extended Time: How can I add time to Content Assessments?

If a student needs extra time to take a Content Assessment, you can add time after you approve their Content Assessment request.

Calculator: How do I change calculator settings on an assessment?

You can edit the calculator settings for assessments to support the unique needs of students. The settings include Calculator not relevant, No Calculator allowed, Four-function calculator allowed, Scientific calculator allowed, Graphic calculator allowed. 

Important note: Changing the calculator settings changes the settings for all students who have not yet taken the assessment.

How do I enable text-to-speech on assessments?

Platform admins can enable text-to-speech on assessments to support the needs of diverse learners.

How do I manage Focus Area exemptions and masteries for students?

When a student receives exemptions for Focus Areas, those Focus Areas will move to the Exempted Focus Areas row on their Year page and do not count towards the student's grade.

Focus Areas masteries may be granted when you want the student to have the Focus Area shown in the Year Page as mastered or green.

This feature is only available to platform admins. 

How can I adjust the number of assessment questions for students?

This adjustment is for students who require shorter content assessments (such as students with IEPs/504s). The number of assessment questions can be reduced to 7, 8, or 9 questions. Mastery requires getting no more than 2 questions wrong for standard courses and no more than 3 questions wrong on AP courses. 

This feature is only available to platform admins. 

Customizing Resources: How do I edit and add or remove resources from Focus Areas?

You can edit the title, description, and key terms of the focus area. You can also add resources under a Focus Area's introductory materials or objectives.


Additional Resources:

Help Center Article


Accessibility Resource Bank

The Accessibility Resource Bank is a curated selection of research-based resources that teachers can use as scaffolds for classroom tasks for all learners—especially those with foundational needs. Leverage the research-based tools and strategies found in each of the sections of the Resource Bank—Reading, Writing, Language, Math, and Self-Directed Learning Resources—to further support differentiation for your students with IEPs and 504 Plans. Some resources are instructional strategies and others are resources that can be customized, saved, and uploaded to the Summit Learning platform for targeted assignment. 

Considerations for Modified Courses

You can create a modified course for students requiring modifications on their IEPs. Since reducing the rigor for a student is a decision that should not be taken lightly, it is important to keep in mind that creating a modified course can be time-consuming, has many implications, and needs to be coordinated at a district level.

Additional Technical Tools to Support Diverse Learners

Some students benefit from additional tools to help them browse and work independently online. This resource includes several embedded accessibility tools and Chrome extensions that can be particularly useful for improving the productivity and independence of diverse learners, including students with disabilities, students struggling with reading, and English Language Learners. 


Learning Space Curriculum, Instruction, and Programmatic Guidance

While the Help Center addresses tech-based questions, the Learning Space serves as a professional development library that houses resources such as training materials, program implementation resources, and curriculum guidance. The following resources offer guidance on serving students as they develop foundational skills (e.g. academic, cognitive, social-behavioral skills), including students receiving support through an IEP or Section 504 Plan. 

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