Foundations of Education and Instructional Assessment/Grading/Differentiation

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Differentiated Assessment

Carissa Eckelman

Learning Targets

Students Should Be Able To:

~ Identify what Differentiated assessment is

~ Learn different types of differentiated assessments

~ Understand the different types of learners

Introduction[edit | edit source]

There are many different types of students that teachers will encounter throughout their years of teaching. Each child has different gifts, and they also have different struggles. Teachers need to be able to identify the different types of learners that they will encounter, and how to successfully teach and give assessment to these students. The first type of students that a teacher will encounter is referred to as the "normative students." These students as referred to as by Webster is, "of, relating to, or determining norms or standards." Which in teaching means that these students can complete most tasks or assessments that are given to them. Normative students are given what are called Norm-Referenced Tests or (NRTs). These tests are defined as a type of test, assessment, or evaluation which yields an estimate of the position of the tested individual in a predefined population, with respect to the trait being measured. (Wikipedia) In this you compare one of the students to another with the results. The next type of students that a teacher could be presented with is a disabled learner. The definition of a disabled person is any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such impairment. (Administration 2004.) As teacher this means that you will be responsible for coming up with different ways of giving assessments to these students, because they can't take the NRTs.

Different Assessments[edit | edit source]

Since you will be responsible for coming up with different ways to test students with disabilities it is important to know some ways that could really help you. First let's start with the basics. The definition of differentiated assessment is an ongoing process through which teachers gather data before, during and after instruction from multiple sources to identify learners' needs and strengths. Students are differentiated in their knowledge and skills. (Chapman and King 2004.) Since you know the definition of what differentiated assessment is you can use it towards your teaching. For instance you don't have to necessarily test students on a subject, but rather on how they are improving. Types of things to assess could be completion of tasks, ability to work with and listen to others, participation levels, respects self and others, ability to discuss, explain, make connections, debate, support opinions, infer, reason, re-tell, describe, report, predict. (About, 2009). Another way of differentiating assessment is when you have students who can't read as well as others, and you are testing say social studies, read the questions to the students. You aren't giving them a reading test, so by reading them the different questions they can actually have a chance of figuring out the correct questions.

Here are some GREAT tips on how to differentiate assessment and instruction

Two key types of different assessments are performance based assessment and portfolio assessment (Eric, 1993.). In performance based assessment you ask the students to perform tasks to evaluate certain skills. For portfolio assessment portfolios are an effective way to bring assessment into harmony with instructional goals. Portfolios can be thought of as a form of "embedded assessment"; that is, the assessment tasks are a part of instruction. Teachers determine important instructional goals and how they might be achieved. Through observation during instruction and collecting some of the artifacts of instruction, assessment flows directly from the instruction. (Shavleson 1992.)

Conclusion and Author's Opinion[edit | edit source]

So there are a lot of different ways that teachers can learn to test and instruct students with different needs and abilities. Students don't have to be given a standard 100 question multiple choice test to really prove what they know. They could be given an experiment to do or a paper to write. I personally think that every teacher should practice differentiated assessment. Since, inclusion is a huge part in almost all public schools teachers will come across students that will need differentiated assessment. From what I have seem, through observation and from other teachers, you can assess students in lots of different ways. For example, my mom, who is a second grade teacher uses differentiated assessment a lot. She reads test questions to students who wouldn't be able to read them. She also assesses them in other ways than just tests. One teacher I observed used projects to assess students. She would give them each a project after each unit. Sometimes it would be a book to make, a poster, or a brochure. By using these different ways to assess, each students get a fair chance at being able to learn and succeed.

Quiz Time!![edit | edit source]

1. All of the following are examples of types of differentiated assessment EXCEPT:

a. Performance Based Assessment

b. N.R.T.s

c. Portfolio Assessment

d. Debating a subject

2. What is Differentiated Assessment?

a. Figuring out different needs and skills of students and giving tests based on them.

b. Choosing which students get to take a test

c. Instead of testing, giving the students all A's.

d. Making the students all take the same test

3. You are a new teacher and want to use different assessments for every level of students. What is an example of a problem you might occur?

a. Since they are all in the same class they don't need differentiated assessment.

b. No problem

c. The students will all rebel and could hurt you.

d. You will have a long time grading them, and therefore it might not be worth making different tests for all the levels.

4. You are a teacher and want to make a differentiated assessment. What is an example of an assessment.

a. Having the students draw a picture explaining the lesson

b. Having the students take a multiple choice test.

c. Having the students do an experiment

d. Both a and d.

References[edit | edit source]

Administrative Office of the Trial Court. (2004.)Affirmative Action Plan of the Massachusetts Trial Court. Retrieved on March 21, 2009. Website: ( Wikipedia. Norm-Referenced Test. Retrieved on March 21, 2009. Website:

Chapman, C and King R. Differentiated Assessment Strategies: One Tool Doesn't Fit All. 2004. Differentiated Assessment. Retrieved on March 21, 2009. Website:

About: Differentiated Instruction and Assessment. 2009. Differentiated Assessment. Retrieved on March 21, 2009. Website:

ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology Syracuse NY. (Dec 1993.) Alternative Assessment and Technology. Retrieved on March 21, 2009. Website:

Shavelson, R.J. (1992). What we've learned about assessing hands-on science. Educational Leadership, 49, 20-25. Retrieved on March 21, 2009. Website:

Reader ResponseTbandy001 (talk) 21:05, 16 April 2009 (UTC) I think that this article was very important in interested because there needs to be different wasys to asses the student because as you said every single student is different. Having the same assessment for everyone through out the year will only show favor to a certain constant group of people. As you said before inclusionis a big part of going to school now and because of this I agree with you in that teachers need to take this into consideration and allow for different assesments. You made that very clear in your conclusion we all aren't so called normal so why would everyone be required to take normative assesments.