MIAA 330 – Assessment

Article
Christina L Hambleton
12/22/14

The Role of Assessment in Differentiation
Tonya R. Moon

Increasing diversity in classrooms leaves teachers
facing broad range of students representing a
wide variety of educational needs

Effective Teaching – Teachers must engage in good
decision making with regards to differentiation and
assessment analysis
 Looks

Planning instruction, guiding instruction, evaluating instruction

 Looks

at 3 phases of assessments:
at 3 building blocks of differentiation:

Active learning, high expectations for students, social context of
learning

Differentiation Requires Decision Making

Differentiation is the recognition, articulation, and commitment to plan for
students’ differing needs (Tomlinson, 2001)

This philosophy is a necessity in today’s classrooms.

To be successful in 21st century, in addition to knowledge and understanding of
content, ALL students must also demonstrate the capacity to think critically,
analyze, synthesize, and make inferences.

Differentiated Classroom

Informed decision making involves a teacher focusing on what to teach, how best to
teach it, and how to assess the students’ proficiency with what was taught, while
giving attention to students’ varying readiness levels, interests, and learning profiles

Teachers must consider various instructional approaches and resources based on
pre-identified instructional goals and objectives guided by reliable assessment data

Integration of Differentiated Instruction and
Assessment

Decisions made by teachers fall into the following
assessment phases

Pre-assessment Phase

Formative assessment Phase

Planning Instruction

Guiding Instruction

Summative Assessment Phase

Evaluating Instruction

 Questions

pertaining to each phase:

Why does it matter?

What happens if there’s a misalignment with identified learning goals?

How does a teacher use the data collected?

Phase One Pre-Assessment: Planning Instruction

Why does it matter?

Assessment decisions help determine where students’ needs are –
what they should know, understand, and be able to do

Facilitates a teacher’s differentiating instruction by establishing
instructional baselines pertaining to students’ levels of skill,
knowledge, and understandings

What happens if there is a misalignment?

If assessments are misaligned with identified instructional
goals and objectives, the teacher can make errors in her
decision on where to start or continue instruction.

Student deficits, gaps, previously mastered material, or
required prerequisites can be overlooked

Phase One Pre -Assessment: Planning Instruction
 How

does a teacher use the Data?

Pre-assessments should be aligned with specific objectives that may come
from standards, curriculum guides, instructional goals, etc.

Pre-assessments occur prior to instruction – allow teacher time to analyze
and modify instruction if needed

Answers question – Which student(s) have partial or full mastery of
identified learning goals

Teacher knows where to streamline – where to differentiate for students
with additional needs

Phase Two: Formative Assessment – Guiding
Instruction

Why Does it Matter?

Formative observations (collected during instruction) determine the degree of
mastery of a given learning task and pinpoint the part of the task not mastered

Students learn at different paces – Teachers need to make adjustments to
instructional sequences to ensure comprehension and mastery of concept

What Happens if There is a Misalignment?

If assessments not collected, teacher can wrongly assume that all
students learn the same

Can prevent student mastery

Can disengage students

Can result in negative student behaviors or attitudes

Phase Two: Formative Assessment – Guiding
Instruction

How does Teacher use the Data?

Assessment during instruction useful to see which students are
moving satisfactorily toward learning goals

Teacher bases modification of instruction on data:

Progress for most is OK – modify through differentiation to provide
necessary scaffolding for students falling behind

Progress for almost all is unsatisfactory – Substantial instructional
modification through differentiation needed – try a different
approach

Provide students with feedback so their can monitor their success
and know what steps are needed to improve (self-directed
learners)

Phase Three: Summative Assessment –
Evaluating Instruction

Why does it matter?

Provides information to teacher about students’ mastery of content just studied

When units are built upon one another, summative assessments can serve as a preassessment for the upcoming unit

Data is provided to students, parents, and administrators – GRADES

For differentiation & grading to be effective – both require clarity & focus on preidentified knowledge, understandings, and skills for which students are
accountable. Common goal of enhancing learning

What happens if there is a misalignment?

Students may unfairly be penalized because they are held accountable for
information that they have not been adequately taught

Phase Three: Summative Assessment –
Evaluating Instruction

How Does a Teacher use the Data?

Data collected during final phase allows teacher to make
evaluative decisions regarding her student learning

Mastery of identified learning goals & objectives?

To what degree has each student mastered all of the identified learning
goals?

Teacher able to analyze her teaching effectiveness

Are there patterns in data which suggest teacher error

How can she realign her teaching strategies to accommodate all
needs?

Strengthening the Link Between
Differentiated Instruction & Assessment

Differentiated Classroom:

Appropriately challenging knowledge, skills, and understandings as the basis for
instruction, assessment and grading.

ALL students are moving toward the same instructional objectives

Some move at a quicker pace with greater independence

Some need foundation reinforcements and/or greater support mechanisms

Building blocks of differentiation that have implications for assessment

Learning is Active

High expectations exist for all students with scaffolding to support success

Learning occurs in a social context

Strengthening the Link Between
Differentiated Instruction & Assessment

Learning is Active

Differentiated classroom

Engagement in learning is prevalent

Instruction includes active, inquiry-based learning

Students are actively involved in discussions and group work

Teacher uses pre-assessment, formative data, and summative data to better understand how
students comprehend new information

All Students are Held to High Expectations

Assessments contexts may change, but EXPECTATIONS that ALL students will
achieve mastery of learning goals never waver

Teacher provides whatever support is needed – modifications, resources,
scaffolding, etc.

Strengthening the Link Between
Differentiated Instruction & Assessment

Learning Occurs in a Social Context

Differentiated classroom

Individual & collaborative opportunities for student learning

Utilize Authentic Assessments

Students can demonstrate their learning via presentations, group
discussions/activities

Students held accountable for their own work when group work is
assessed

These assessments more easily accommodate student differences

Conclusion

Well-executed assessments

Pre-assessment

Formative

Summative

play pivotal role in how instruction comes to be differentiated to
meet learners’ varied readiness, interests, and learning preferences.

Differentiated Classroom Community

Carefully constructed, purposely executed assessments

Use results to modify instruction so that ALL learners have the
support and opportunities needed for their academic success