DifferentiatedAssessment Sydney Tyber, Martina Hradska, Dan McCloy
Differentiated Instruction• Our readings discuss assessment specifically, but understanding the whole umbrella of differentiated instruction is crucial to applying it as a strategy for assessment:• the process of “ensuring that what a student learns, how he or she learns it, and how the student demonstrates what he or she has learned is a match for that student’s readiness level, interests, and preferred mode of learning” (Tomlinson, 2004, 188)
Being Proactive• Being proactive as a teacher in regard to students with all students and students with disabilities is very important because it is necessary to identify challenges early on, to be able to properly accommodate or modify students’ expectations/content. The goal for the students is for them to be able to reach grade level targets. This is where it is necessary to accommodate, modify program and/or substitute learning targets. It may be challenging to be able to give extra help to students in need while still continuing with the rest of the class. This is why it is important to establish routines and get the rest of the class going on their own occasionally to be able to give help where needed. This may include differentiated instruction and assessment, both of which will be discussed in the following slides.
Differentiated Instruction• If you are not a visual learner, key things to take from the diagram are:• 1) Teachers can differentiate content, process, and assessment• 2) Differentiation should be according to students’ interests, readiness, and learning profile
Theories• Two major theories of the way students learn are:1) Neil Fleming’s VAK (visual/auditory/kinesthetic) model2) Howard Gardiner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences
Currently our schools…• Looking at Gardiner’s model, we can see that our schools: • Naturalist, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, and musical intelligences are often overlooked entirely • Cater mostly to linguisitically and logical/mathematically intelligent students • Linguistically intelligent people are often interpersonal, which is not embraced in many classrooms such as math and science • Logical/Mathematically intelligent people are often intrapersonal which is rarely catered to in classrooms such as dramatic arts, history, geography Outcome: Students’ grades often vary greatly by class; The form of student assessment and instruction often dictates how well the student will be able to learn and communicate what they’ve learned• Looking at Fleming’s model, we can see that our schools: • Cater mostly to auditory learners • Often don’t use methods that cater to kinesthetic learners Outcome: Grades are often stratified with auditory learners in the top percentile, visual learners in the mid-range of achievement, and kinesthetic learners in the lower range. Exceptions: Physical Education, the Arts
Come On, Teacher• By not offering students different strategies for learning the curriculum through differentiated instruction and assessment, we are actually making them believe they are “unteachable”:• These students are not “unteachable”. Simply, we are not teaching them in the way they learn...
Performance Assessment• This is considered the best way to create differentiation in assessment, as it allows for assessments that cater to multiple intelligences and learning styles and often offers students choice• Performance assessment tasks specifically ask a student to perform the “do” of the curriculum, assessing application of skills more than recall of knowledge > this means that performance assessment allows teachers to assess higher order thinking skills Would adopting the KDB model in schools allow us to use performance assessment for differentiated assessment more easily?
Performance Assessment• “Performance assessment is any assessment in which the teacher’s role is to observe while students perform” (Stiggins, 2004) • Cooper does not highlight that Richard J. Stiggins is telling us that performance assessments depend on an assessment of process. The evaluation is not solely based on the final product, but places emphasis on the teacher assessing the students’ steps to get to the final product.• Cooper asserts that “a creative writing assignment would not be considered a performance assessment because the teacher did not observe students, for assessment purposes, while they write” (Cooper 106) • This is not a “fact” in assessment literature as many scholars and educators would consider this a performance assessment. Consider that “some types of paper-and-pencil test items, such as a math problem or essay question, can be used to provide information about the thinking processes that underlie students’ performance” (Airasian, Engemann, Gallagher, 2007, p. 148) • Cooper’s argument is unclear. He draws on the above quotation from Stiggins to prove his point, but neglects to appropriately ‘unpack’ it. Furthermore, he takes Stiggins out of the context of the rest of his book: • On page 223 of Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing it Right, Using it Well (2004), Stiggins states that “when assessing writing in English, the [performance task] should have the student create a written product.
Performance Assessment• If performance assessment is based on process, how can pencil and paper tasks be used as performance assessment in your teachable subject?• If performance assessment can only be done through teacher observation, does that mean that the teacher cannot give feedback through the process?
Differentiated Assessment FOR Learning• For any teacher to effectively use differentiated instruction, they must begin with differentiated assessment for learning• This means creating assessments that not only diagnose students’ knowledge base, but also account for their strengths/weaknesses in the assessment form itself• The ASSESSMENT FORM MUST CATER TO MULTIPLE LEARNING STYLES AND INTELLIGENCES • For example: using a pencil and paper method to see what students already know will not give you a valid or indication of what visual and kinesthetic learners know, as you are forcing them to communicate in a form that is not natural to them; it does not cater to students are interpersonal, musical, or naturalist
Differentiated Assessment FOR Learning• Consider how a doctor makes a diagnosis: 1) Dr. asks patient to tell him what’s wrong (auditory, linguistic, logical, interpersonal) 2) Dr. asks patient to show him where the problem is (visual, intrapersonal, spatial, natural) 3) Dr. asks patient to do the motion that aggravates the ailment (kinesthetic, visual, naturalist). After taking each of these steps, Dr. gives a diagnosis. While each step in the diagnostic process does offer new information on a basic level, each step offers the patient an opportunity to convey information using different learning styles and intelligences. This is how the Dr. ensures he is getting the best information. Why would assessment for learning in the classroom be any different?
Differentiated Assessment AS Learning• Consider what is required for rich performance tasks: 1) Provide evidence of essential learning 2) Demand innovation and creativity 3) Present students with an engaging challenge that requires persistence to complete 4) Engage students in problem-solving and decision-making 5) Are appropriate to all students and range of student abilities 6) Provide for individual accountability when doing group work 7) Assessment criteria reflects the essential learning of the unit and is communicated to students before they begin to work If all of these requirements are going to be assessed, then they also must be specifically taught. Cooper’s chapter focuses on using performance assessment as assessment of learning, but first a teacher must give the students the tools needed to complete a performance assessment task. Teachers should be constantly offering students opportunities to complete performance tasks that require them to demonstrate “innovation, creativity, persistence, problem- solving, and decision-making”
Differentiated Assessment AS Learning• Breaking down these requirements into tasks that have students practice one or two skills at a time will allow a teacher to give feedback that is specifically designed for the student’s achievement on the specific skill • The student uses that feedback to then produce a new task: • If the student has performed well, introduce another skill into their next task but ensure they implement the given feedback • If the student has not performed well, provide them with another task specific to the same skills for them to implement that feedback *Students can be given options for each task to help differentiate. If the teacher believes the reason the student was not successful is because of the option he/she chose, the teacher should subsequently assign a specific option to that student.
Differentiated Assessment AS Learning• All of the academic literature on assessment as learning tells us that feedback is the key to this type of assessment.• If we are differentiating the performance tasks according to students learning styles, interests, etc…, does it really make sense that we are offering feedback predominantly in writing?• We need to create a model for “differentiated feedback,” which would be feedback given in a way that caters to students learning needs • What do you think about “differentiated feedback”? What might it look like in your classroom?
Differentiated Assessment AS Learning• Consider this case: Jared is a student in your grade 11 class and is one of the students in your school who failed the literacy test last year. He has no IEP. You assess Jared using multiple performance tasks always give him extensive feedback but he never does anything to improve. Any of the teachers in the school that have had him in their class know that he never gives any effort towards improving and that he does not care about his marks. He is one of the laziest students in the school. What other explanations might there be for Jared’s behavior? As Jared’s teacher, how can you help him improve?
Differentiated Assessment of Learning• If a student is learning in many different ways, there must be different ways to do the assessment OF learning. Whether this means more than paper and pencil exams, or making an exam better suited for a student with disabilities, the assessment of learning should be differentiated if possible but still address the intended curriculum outcomes.• Some examples may be:• -portfolios• -exhibitions• -Performance tasks• -etc• Simple How To’s: Differentiating summative tasks may be challenging. Teachers must remember when differentiating assessment OF learning to different students, is not to adjust the “Content Standards” (the skills they need to achieve) but rather to adjust the “ Performance Standards” (how well they learn). That way, as explained in the text, we are not changing the meter stick by which everything is measured, thus keeping the measurement valid and fair.
Case Study• Case: You have a new student, Maria, in your class. She is new to Canada and can only speak basic English. You have given her differentiated instruction, and helped her with vocabulary. Now, the whole class is supposed to do a 15 minute oral presentation on Romeo and Juliet using the ideas you have taught in class, as the summative project. It would be a nearly impossible challenge if you asked Maria to express herself this way. How would you differentiate the assessment for this new student since she isn’t at the same level of spoken English as her peers due to her language barrier?
Question of FAIR• In the text, Cooper (2010) he discusses the need for different types of assessments catered for students with different kinds of disabilities. Yet, many students may not understand why other students have it easier, of get multiple tries at an assignment while they do not.• How can a teacher explain to her students why some students get more attention than others, and get assessed differently, without offending either of the two groups?
Growing Success• The two sections in the Growing Success document that discuss differentiated instruction and assessment for LD and ELL/ESL students explain that modifications can be made to the overall expectations of the curriculum if the student cannot perform due to disabilities recognized in their IEP• Accommodations for LD and ELL/ELS students can be made if the accommodations enable the student to perform the skills indicated in the overall expectation
Growing Success• Do “accommodations” have a use outside of teaching identified/monitored LD and ELL/ESL learners?• Does differentiated assessment offer teachers a method for accommodating all learners, not only those who are identified?• If we are accommodating every student, is assessment valid or reliable? If not, is there a way to make differentiated assessment more valid and reliable?
Growing Success• The credit recovery section of the document has significantly more detail• The guiding principles for credit recovery indicates that “students must have an opportunity to demonstrate achieving course expectations in a variety of ways.” (9-ii); this is a direct implementation of differentiated instruction• The eleven guiding principles for all classrooms (not just credit recovery) states that assessment and evaluation strategies must be “varied in nature” (2-i); also an attempt at implementing differentiated instruction• The problem is: when you read the Eleven Guiding Principles in the second section of GS and then read the Thirteen Guiding Principles for Credit Recovery, they are quite similar. What do you think offers credit recovery the ability to have more differentiated instruction and assessment? Why can’t we implement this in a regular classroom?
The Question We’ve All Been Wondering…Is differentiated instruction andassessment using performanceassessments feasible in allclassrooms?Do teachers really have time fordifferentiated assessment?
Finally…• Students who are not taught using differentiated assessment often drop out of school thinking they are not smart. Often these students are brilliant and just engaged.• Do you really want let your genius students “serve fries at a drive through” to “unoriginal” successful students whom traditional schooling just happened to cater to…?