Curricular Adaptations Types and Examples

Alexander Pearson
Curricular Adaptations Types and Examples

The Curricular adaptations (also called curricular adaptations) are tools used in education to help students with special educational needs. In general, they consist of modifying aspects of the syllabus or the teaching method, so that the educational objectives are suitable for all students.

One of the main problems of the modern educational system is that, having to use a standardized model for all students, it does not take into account their individual differences. Curricular adaptations would serve to correct to some extent this failure of the system.

Contrary to what is commonly thought, this tool is applicable not only to students with poorer academic performance, but also to all those with specific needs. These students can range from people with a physical disability to those with extraordinary mental abilities..

Article index

  • 1 Types
    • 1.1 Curricular adaptations for access to the curriculum
    • 1.2 Individual curricular adjustments
    • 1.3 Curricular adaptations for gifted students
  • 2 Examples
    • 2.1 Use of different evaluation techniques
    • 2.2 Change in the contents to be studied
    • 2.3 Expansion of the contents
  • 3 References


Depending on the aspects of the educational program that are modified, there are different formats of curricular adaptations. These move between two extremes: on the one hand, there are the small changes that teachers make in their daily teachings, and on the other, the modifications that significantly change the curriculum stand out..

There are mainly three types of curricular adaptations: access to the curriculum, individual, and for gifted students.

Curricular adaptations for access to the curriculum

This first type of curricular adaptation consists of modifying certain aspects of the teaching method, so that students with some physical or cognitive peculiarity can study the normal educational curriculum.

In general, they are used to make education more accessible to certain minorities, such as those with some type of sensory or motor impairment. In turn, they can be divided into physical access and communication access adaptations.

Physical access accommodations

They are all those that modify some material aspect of the educational environment to allow access to it for people with special needs in this regard.

For example, the inclusion of ramps or elevators for people in wheelchairs, adapted furniture or the inclusion of support personnel within the classrooms to help students with severe motor problems is considered..

Communication access adaptations

They are all the adjustments related to different teaching materials modified to adapt to a certain group of students. Some examples would be books written in braille for the blind or the audio recording of school materials for those with dyslexia..

Individual curricular adaptations

This type of curricular adaptation is what most people understand when they hear about this concept. It is a series of changes in the educational curriculum made to adapt the knowledge to be acquired to the level of each student.

The main characteristic of this type of curricular adaptation is that it must be done individually for each student with special educational needs. Depending on the depth of the changes made, they are divided into non-significant adaptations and significant adaptations.

Non-significant adaptations (ACNS)

These are changes in some elements of education not related to a profound modification of the content to be studied. For example, they could have to do with the time that a student can use to take an exam, the type of exercises that they must complete or the way to teach a specific lesson.

In some cases they can also be used to modify the contents to be studied by students with special needs; but if so, they should never have a lag of more than two courses with respect to their peers.

Initially, these adaptations should be used in practically all cases, unless an individual student requires very specific help to acquire the basic knowledge.

With the ACNS, the student can still get his school graduate degree, because he would meet the minimum teaching requirements.

Significant adjustments (ACS)

This subgroup of curricular adaptations is characterized by a profound change in the content to be studied by a student. To be carried out, they require a prior psychopedagogical evaluation of the students, in such a way that they can be perfectly adapted to the individual needs of the person.

Due to the great changes that these adaptations imply for the knowledge acquired by the student, there is a great controversy about whether those in which they are applied should be able to achieve their school graduate. For this reason, an attempt is made not to use them except in the most extreme cases..

Some of the changes that can be introduced with the ACS would be the modification of elements such as the basic learning requirements, the teaching objectives of a specific subject or the methods used for the evaluation.

Curricular adaptations for gifted students

Despite the fact that this is a largely ignored group within the education sector, gifted students also require a modification of educational content to reach their full potential..

This is mainly due to the fact that, by keeping up with their peers, they tend to become unmotivated and lose all incentive to pay attention to educational content. This can lead to all kinds of problems, such as poor school performance, disruptive classroom behaviors, or even depression..

To adapt to these types of students, teachers must include tasks that are more challenging or require other types of skills, such as research and creativity. However, this type of curricular adjustments hardly occurs in educational centers..


Use of different evaluation techniques

For students with certain special needs, a different assessment method than traditional exams could be used. For example, in the case of blind or dyslexic students, these assessment methods could be replaced by oral tests.

Change in the contents to study

Most curricular adaptations fall into this subgroup. For example, a second year ESO student with a mental disability could be studying sixth grade content, which is better adapted to his cognitive level and knowledge.

Expansion of the contents

The opposite case to the previous one would be that of the students with intellectual capacities above the average, who would need an extension of the subjects to study. This could be done by including content from higher courses or by giving you the freedom to explore topics of interest to you..


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  2. "What are curricular adaptations" in: Mundo Primaria. Retrieved on: May 15, 2018 from Mundo Primaria:
  3. "Types of individualized curricular adaptations (A.C.I.)" in: Cadah Foundation. Retrieved on: May 15, 2018 from Fundación Cadah:
  4. "What are curricular adaptations?" at: Fun4Us. Retrieved on: May 15, 2018 from Fun4Us:
  5. "Curriculum adaptation" in: Wikipedia. Retrieved on: May 15, 2018 from Wikipedia:

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