Provides opportunities for students with diverse learning needs to demonstrate understanding.

What Effective Teachers Will Do

Effective teachers differentiate assessment when needed in order for individual students to demonstrate learning. Effective teachers know they can help students progress if they have a clear understanding of what students know and can do. To better accommodate diverse learning needs and styles of all students, effective teachers modify assessments and provide students with a variety of ways to demonstrate understanding. These adjustments reflect the need to address language, disabilities, and student-specific learning goals.

What Effective Teachers Consider

Do I assess students in different ways that are unique to their individual needs? Do I allow students multiple opportunities to demonstrate understanding in additional ways?

  • What is Differentiated Instruction?
    Carol Ann Tomlinson, ERIC Digest, Eric Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, August, 2000. Excerpted from “Differentiation of Instruction in the Elementary Grades.” Reading Rockets – Teaching kids to read and helping those who struggle WETA
  • Use Formative Assessment to Differentiate Instruction (Edutopia)
    A description of how some teachers use checks to determine needs of individual students and then use simple technology to personalize learning.
  • Differentiated Instruction and Implications for UDL Implementation (National Center on Accessible Educational Materials)
    A downloadable, scholarly article with an introduction to differentiated instruction and identification of its key components and features. Connections are made between differentiation and UDL (Universal Design for Learning).
  • Leading and Managing a Differentiated Classroom
    ASCD, Alexandria, VA, 2010. Carol Ann Tomlinson and Marcia B. Imbeau tackle the issue of how to address student differences thoughtfully and proactively. The first half of the book focuses on what it means for a teacher to effectively lead a differentiated classroom. The second half of the book focuses on the mechanics of managing a differentiated classroom.
  • The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of all Learners
    Carol Ann Tomlinson, ASCD, Alexandria, VA, 1999. Tomlinson looks at elementary and secondary classrooms in nearly all subject areas to show how real teachers turn the challenge of differentiation into a reality. Her insightful analysis of how, what, and why teachers differentiate lays the groundwork for you to bring differentiation to your own classroom.
  • Assessment in Art Education (Art Education in Practice)
    Donna Kay Beattie, Assessment in Art Education (Art Education in Practice), Davis Publications, Incorporated, March 1998. Authentic assessment strategies designed for art, but applicable to all disciplines. Strategies include a variety of techniques such as checklists, portfolio assessments, performance, and rubrics.
  • Differentiated Learning Strategies,
    Wikispaces site that lists a number of strategies to use in differentiating both instruction and assessments. Site includes downloadable lesson plan templates.