The Learning Classroom Program on Differentiated Instruction and Assessment:
What is Differentiated Instruction?
Differentiated instruction and assessment are effective teaching practices that are responsive to the ongoing learning preferences, interests and readiness of the individual learner. It is a framework or a philosophy for effective teaching which involves identifying the expectations that all students must achieve.
The Literacy Numeracy Secretariat provides more information, online videos and webcasts surrounding the practice and theory of differentiated instruction
Hume, Karen (2007). Start Where They Are: Differentiating for Success with the Young Adolescent. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.
Definitions of Key Terms and Concepts
Teacher Beliefs and Knowledge
This refers to our fundamental beliefs around teaching, learning and how we meet the needs of our students.
These are the learning expectations that we have for our students. These key, big ideas are NOT differentiated.
This is the positive, supportive and interactive learning environment that we create in our classroom, in our school.
Knowledge of Students
Knowledge of students is a teacher's understanding of each individual student's interests, learning preferences, and readiness to learn a particular concept.
Powerful Learning Strategies
Differentiated instruction requires the careful and thoughtful selection of powerful learning strategies and activities that recognize student needs and strengths while purposefully engaging and addressing course curricula.
Evidence base involves all the different ways we gather information about student progress, their strengths, their needs, their interests, etc. We can gather this information through diagnostic, formative and summative assessments; through IEPs, OSRs, student surveys and inventories.
Assessment is the process of gathering information from a variety of sources such as daily assignments, observations made during class, discussions, projects, performances and even tests and quizzes. The intent for assessment is to gain an accurate picture of how well the student is achieving in our course or subject area.
Evaluation is the process of judging the quality of student work after learning on the basis of established criteria, and assigning a value or 'mark' to represent their achievement.
Assessment for Learning** is assessment used to inform our instruction (through diagnostic, pre-assessment and formative assessment)
Assessment as Learning** takes place when students assess their own work and reflect on their growth as learners
Assessment of Learning** is the more familiar end-of-lesson or end-of-unit assessment (summative assessment)
Hume, K. (2008) Start where they are: Differentiating for success with the young adolescent. Toronto: Pearson Professional Learning.
This involves setting and designing tasks that students are able to accomplish. To appropriately challenge students involves knowing what our students understand and what they are capable of doing. We then assign tasks that require them to extend their knowledge just beyond their current circle of understanding.