Research Synthesis High Achieving Students

The education system has a responsibility to promote the individual potential of students. This also includes the targeted support of high-achieving students. Teachers are thus faced with the challenge of providing the best possible support for all students in a class, which can be achieved with so-called "differentiation" in the classroom. Our research synthesis deals with the effect of these differentiation measures and their framework conditions in the classroom. It aims to identify difficulties and possible support, as well as to provide insight into how teachers can address high-achieving students in the classroom.

Research Questions

  • How effective are the investigated differentiation measures in the regular classroom?
  • How often is differentiation used in the regular classroom?
  • How do teachers and high-achieving students rate the utility of differentiation in the regular classroom?
  • What are the support possibilities and pitfalls in implementing differentiation in the regular classroom?


Our research synthesis showed that it is promising to enable students to learn according to their individual needs also in the regular classroom.

  • All students in standard classes can benefit from differentiation as a support tool.
  • Supporting high-achieving students requires targeted measures and is by no means a matter of course.
  • Although it has not been used much in the classroom, teachers and students consider differentiation to be a suitable tool for supporting high-achieving students.
  • In order to support teachers in the use of differentiation, training sessions, the involvement of mentors or observation in the lessons of other teachers are suitable.

Scientific Publications

*Ziernwald, L., Hillmayr, D., & Holzberger, D. (2022). Promoting High-Achieving Students Through Differentiated Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms—A Systematic Review. Journal of Advanced Academics.