Intellectual Ability – Low

What it is

An area of student need that involves low levels of cognition. Reduced intellectual ability reduces the understanding and functioning of a student compared to age/grade peers.

Teaching Strategies

• Assess to determine current level of achievement.
• Use instructional methods related to the student’s strengths and interests.
• Analyze errors to determine gaps in learning.
• Develop and implement Individual Education Plan (IEP) programming (accommodations, modifications and/or alternative programming, as determined from assessment of the student).
• Use concrete pictures, models and hands-on materials to increase understanding.
• Use Differentiated Instruction methods frequently.
• Use repetition.


• Reduce visual and auditory distractions.
• Use preferential seating, so that the student is close to the teacher.
• Post reference material in the class for student use (math facts, alphabet, periodic table).


• Provide additional time.
• Offer a quiet work location.
• Allow for oral/scribed tests.
• Ensure understanding of test questions.
• Allow for a reference sheet to be used for tests.
• Provide choice of assignments, so that the student can choose an area of strength.
• Provide written instructions and rubrics for assignments.
• Chunk assignments into parts and provide feedback as each part is completed.

See the Mild Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disability sections for additional strategies and resources.