While High-Yield Instructional Strategies and Specially Designed Instruction may, at first, appear to be synonymous, the principles differ quite substantially in the intent and purpose.
High-Yield Instructional Strategies provide benefit for all students regardless of ability levels. High-Yield Instructional Strategies can be used to meet the needs of all students, such as, students who may have cultural or linguistic diversity. Given the vast diversity within every general education classroom by providing a variety of novel methods traditional and non-traditional students make gains that can close the achievement gap as mandated by Every Student Succeeds Act (2015) by using differentiated methods for all students. Teacher using High-Yield Instructional Strategies are also using ethical teaching practices and those are mitigating the effects of race, gender, ethnicity, language, and ability levels that may impact learning. For more information on High-Yield Instructional Strategies see Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement, by Robert Marzano (2001).
Students must meet two criteria in order to be eligible to receive special education services. First, the student must have a disability designated under IDEA (2004) as determined by a Full and Individual Evaluation. Secondly, the student must have an educational need for Specially Designed Instruction. Specially Designed Instruction is the instruction that we provide to a student with a disability with an IEP in order for them to master their goals and objectives. This is a provision of special education eligibility and is a required component to ensure access and progress in the general curriculum. Specially Designed Instruction goes beyond differentiated instruction. The intent of SDI is to address the student’s unique needs caused by his/her disability. Specially Designed Instruction should be implemented in addition to High-Yield Instructional Strategies. Specially Designed Instruction is designated with the student’s IEP and must be implemented regardless of instructional setting and must document the following: frequency, duration, and location of service(s).