When teachers consider ways to respond to the learning needs of their students, there are three elements of the curriculum that can be differentiated.
Content refers to what the student should know, understand and be able to do. It includes both what the student needs to learn and how the student gains access to the content.
Process refers to the way students come to understand essential knowledge and ideas. Carol Ann Tomlinson (2004), one of the most respected voices in differentiation, uses the term "sense making" to describe what happens as students begin to process what they are learning and make it their own.
Product refers to the ways students can demonstrate what they have come to know, understand and be able to do over an extended period of time, such as a term or a unit. For example, students may be asked to keep a portfolio of their work or complete an end of unit project. High quality products may supplement or replace other assessment or evaluation options such as tests.