Meaning and Definition of Individual Differences in Education B.Ed Notes  


The idea of ‘individual difference’ is first discussed by Plato in his famous and renowned work ‘Republic’. After this, many psychologists and educationalists such as Cattell and Bessell studied the notion of ‘individual difference’ for the better understanding of child development.

Meaning of Individual Differences

Individual difference is the term which denotes the variations and the differences among various characteristics in individuals on the basis of their different mental and cognitive abilities. These varied traits can differentiate an individual to another which makes them different human being possessing different traits.

Sir Francis Galton tried to determine the range of individual difference from various perspectives. it has been found that these individual differences can be defined on the basis of color, the body size (fat or skinny), the height or from cognitive level.

These individual differences arose from social, emotional, physical or psychological factors can cause certain hindrances in the classroom for the teacher while providing them education at the similar platform.

For example, it becomes quite challenging for the teacher to manage the classroom in the way in which the individual differences can be reduced while handling a class of slow and fast learners along with other classroom challenges. All in all, it is quite irrevocable that two human beings cannot be similar in every aspect including it be at learning level, understanding level, academic level or at discipline level.

Definitions by Different Authors


“Today, we think of individual differences as including any measurable aspect of the total personality”

“That vast range of variations, which are visible generally in all the humans.”

Carter B. Good’s Educational Dictionary:

” an individual difference stands for the variations or deviations among individuals in regard to a single characteristics or a number of characteristics.”

“Individual differences stand for those differences which in their totality distinguish one individual from another.”

Dr. Abdur Rauf:

In technical language individual differences are variations or deviations in mental or physical characteristics noticed among individuals which differentiate them from the average of the group.”

James Drever:

“Individual Differences are deviations from the average of the group, with respect to the mental or physical characteristics occurring in the individual members of the group.”

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