In primary and secondary school in the US, some teachers will adjust homework so that it is a better match for students. For example, a teacher might give a strong math student more advanced math problems, while a weaker student might be given more remedial work.
I am currently teaching some 100-level undergraduate courses. While my assignments seem appropriate for the majority of students, I discovered a few that are really not ready, as they came from rural high schools that did not offer the necessary background. It is unlikely that these students can develop their skills to the same level expected of other students within the span of one year, unless I make significant adjustments to their work. As my assignments are too difficult for them, they have given up hope.
The students are too few to warrant a recommended creation of more remedial courses. I'd like to apply some of the differentiated instruction methods that are common in primary and secondary education. At the very least, I would like to: (1) offer these students alternative homework better suited to their level and (2) offer them exams more appropriate for the level that they can realistically achieve during the first semester of the two part course.
- Do universities permit teachers to differentiate their instruction, or must every student be given exactly the same assignments and assessments?
- If this is not permitted, is there some other approach or way of framing the homework and assessments as to make this seem fair for everyone?