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Differentiated Instructional Strategies: One Size Doesn’t Fit All. Assessing the Learner. “Worth Quoting”. “ In order for differentiation to be effective, assessment must be an ongoing part of teaching and learning. Pre-assessment is sandwiched between planning and differentiation.”

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worth quoting
“Worth Quoting”
  • “In order for differentiation to be effective, assessment must be an ongoing part of teaching and learning. Pre-assessment is sandwiched between planning and differentiation.”
  • “Assessment must inform instructional decisions.”
from meeting the needs of high ability high potential learners in the middle grades
From Meeting the Needs of High-Ability & High-Potential Learners in the Middle Grades…
  • “Ongoing assessment is critical to informing classroom practice. Pre-assessment, in-process assessment, and post-assessment should give learners consistent opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding, and skills related to topics of study.”

(position statement National Middle School Association & the National Association for Gifted Children, 2004)

Quotes from: strategies for Differentiating Instruction: best practices for the classroom.Julia Roberts and Tracy Inman, 2007
  • “Pre-assessment is a necessary step if instruction is to be meaningful and motivating to students; it establishes the starting point for learning experiences so students can make continuous progress.”
  • “Pre-assessment makes differentiation defensible.”
  • “Defensible differentiation requires the teacher to have a record of what students know and are able to do before the unit begins.”




(Formative Assessment: Increasing Wait Time p. 120)

what is your definition of
What is your definition of…
  • Formative Assessment
  • Summative Assessment


three types of assessment
Three Types of Assessment:
  • Diagnostic
    • Pre-assessments
  • Formative
    • (NCFALCON)Daily, ongoing, recorded, feedback
    • Benchmarks
  • Summative
    • M/C tests/EOGs/EOCs
    • Ongoing – ex. portfolios

(Tomlinson, C., & McTighe, J., Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding By Design. ASCD, 2006)

climate emotions and learning
Climate:Emotions and Learning
  • “downshifting” (Caine & Caine, 1997)
  • “relaxed alertness” (Kohn, 1993)

Rewards and punishments tend to lessen the chances of self-motivation and an appreciation of learning as its own reward. Five practical alternatives to using rewards are the following:

  • Eliminating threat
  • Creating a strongly positive climate
  • Increasing feedback
  • Setting goals
  • Activating and engaging positive emotions (Jensen, 1998b, p. 68)
worth quoting9
Worth Quoting
  • “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”

-Vince Lombari, legendary football coach

  • “It is, of course, important to praise students because it often satisfies and encourages them, but it cannot help them to improve their performance. Praise keeps you in the game; real feedback helps you get better. Feedback tells you what you did not do and enables you to self adjust.”

-Grant Wiggins, Understanding By Design

four characteristics of effective feedback
Four Characteristics of Effective Feedback
  • Timely
  • Specific
  • Understandable to the Receiver
  • Allow for Adjustment

(Tomlinson, C., & McTighe, J., Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding By Design. ASCD, 2006)

carolyn chapman believes
Carolyn Chapman believes:

“Before any pre-assessing is done, the teacher must know three things:

  • What do I want students to know?
  • What do I want students to understand?
  • What do I want students to be able to do?
ncfalcon formative assessment framework
NCFALCON Formative Assessment Framework


Clear Learning Targets

Criteria for Success

Formative Assessment

Collect & Document Evidence

Analyze Evidence

Descriptive Feedback



k u d
  • Know- A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition, modifiers, and the object of the preposition.
  • Understand –Energy is transferred from the sun to higher order animals via photosynthesis in the plant (producer) and the first order consumers that eat those plants. These animals are then consumed by higher order animals. When those animals die, the energy is transferred to the soil and subsequent plants via scavengers and decomposers. It’s cyclical in nature.
Do – When determining a percentage discount for a market item, students first change the percentage into a decimal by dividing by one hundred, then multiplying the decimal and the item price. This amount is subtracted from the list price to determine the new, discounted cost of the item.
activity k u d
Activity: K.U.D.
  • Think about the units you teach.
  • Brainstorm the concepts within a unit that students need to master.
  • Decide what concepts students need to Know/Understand/Do.
  • Practice writing K.U.D. statements for three concepts.
purposes of pre assessment
Purposes of Pre-Assessment
  • What the student already knows about the unit being planned.
  • What standards, objectives, concepts, and skills the individual student understands.
  • What further instruction and opportunities for mastery are needed.
What requires further re-teaching or enhancement.
  • What areas of interests and feelings are in the different areas of the study.
  • What types of flexible grouping can be utilized to enhance instruction.
flexible grouping activity
Flexible Grouping Activity
  • Dirt Road
  • Paved Road
  • Highway
  • Yellow Brick Road
t a p s

Total Group:

Lecture Presentation, Demonstration, Jigsaw, Video, Field trip, Guest speaker,



Interest, Personalized, Multiple Intelligences

pd 360 video
PD 360 Video
  • Assessing the Learner (15 minutes)


examples of informal pre assessments
Examples of informal pre-assessments
  • Squaring Off
  • Boxing
  • Yes/No Cards
  • Graffiti Fact
surveys at work
Surveys At Work
  • Construct quality surveys.
  • Know the goal, the purpose, and the information that is to be learned.
  • Survey often (students’ interests change as they grow).
how surveys help to inform instruction
How surveys help to inform instruction:
  • Surveys may help teachers design performance tasks related to their preferences or ratings (preference or interest surveys).
  • Surveys may give teachers suggestions for classroom configuration and grouping (social surveys).
  • Surveys may help teachers find out about the preknowledge or experience the students have with an upcoming unit (content survey).
informal during learning assessments
InformalDuring Learning Assessments
  • Thumb it!
  • Fist of Five!
  • Face the Fact!
  • Reaching for the Top!
  • Speedometer Reading
reflections after the learning
Reflections After the Learning
  • Wraparounds
  • Talking Topic
  • Conversation Circles
  • Donut
  • Rotation Variation
  • Paper Pass
  • Draw It
other suggestions
Other suggestions:
  • Tickets Out the Door
  • 3-2-1 (Summarizing strategies)
  • Outcome sentences (Grand Finale Comment)
  • Add a blank piece of paper at the end of the test!
final thoughts
Final Thoughts
  • Assessment/Evaluation/Reporting
  • “Working Inside the Black Box: Assessment for Learning in the Classroom”

Wiliam, Dylan, & Black, Paul (1998)

reflections assessing the learner
Reflections: Assessing the Learner
  • Spend time reflecting on the strategies presented.
  • Select one pre-assessment, during the learning, and after the learning strategy that you feel comfortable with implementing in your classroom next year.
  • “Ah –ha” moments from the “Black Box” article.
  • Share your ideas with a quadrant partner.
ticket out the door
Ticket Out the Door

Dear Jennifer,

What I am taking away today,…

What I still hope to get,….