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There are a variety of program options that teachers of gifted/talented students can use as a means to "differentiate" the core curriculum. These include flexible groupings, acceleration of content, independent study, tiered assignments, interest centers, learning centers, compacting in student's area of strength, mentorships, adjusting questions, honors, advanced placement courses, and use of above-grade-level resources. Below you will see definitions which help clarify these different program options.

Program Option


Cluster Grouping

Grouping students within the regular classroom for instruction by the regular classroom teacher.

Curriculum Compacting

An instructional strategy in which a student’s grasp of a subject area is frequently reassessed by the instructor and, following demonstration of mastery of the subject, the student is allowed to progress to the next level or is given more in-depth work in the same subject area.

Learning Centers
Supplemental educational activities extending the regular curriculum and conducted within the regular classroom.
Interest Centers
Supplemental educational activities based on student interest conducted within the regular classroom.
Mentors and Field Experiences
A cooperative arrangement between a student and a professional adult for the purpose of sharing common interests in a particular skill, knowledge or career orientation
Honors and AP Classes
The Advanced Placement program is a cooperative endeavor of secondary schools, colleges, the College Board, and Gifted/Talented Programs. It offers 31 AP examinations in 34 college-level courses.

Grade or Subject Acceleration

Placement in advanced grades or classes.


Supplemental educational activities conducted either within or outside of the regular classroom but supported by someone other than the regular classroom teacher.

Independent Study

Special tutors or mentors or enrollment in correspondence course.

Tiered Lessons

a series of related tasks with varying content complexity that relate to essential understandings and key skills

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