Differentiating K-12 Assessments

Differentiating K-12 Assessments
Instructor-Led Course
Hours: 24
Duration of Access: 6 weeks
Start Dates: Nov 12, Dec 10, Jan 21, Feb 18
701 Students
have taken this course.


A new session of each course starts monthly. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.

Week 1

Wednesday - Lesson 01

In your first lesson, you'll meet your instructor and find out how differentiating assessment means more than just increasing our students' end-of-year test scores. We'll start by looking at the four main principles behind differentiated assessment (DA). You'll get a taste of how DA works in a real classroom, and you'll see a powerful example of what this approach can do for students. You'll also receive some hands-on strategies for beginning to use DA in your own classroom. Your first step will be getting to know your students' multiple intelligences, learning styles, social and emotional factors, and personal interests, so you can meet them where they are and begin the process of increasing achievement.

Friday - Lesson 02

In Lesson 2, you'll get an overview of the three different types of assessment: The pre-assessment helps us gauge what students already know. The formative assessment is what we use to monitor and adjust instruction while we're teaching. Finally, we give a summative assessment (traditionally a quiz, test, or project) to summarize learning to a point and assign grades. We'll also talk about ways to keep students who have already mastered the content engaged in learning through anchor activities.

Week 2

Wednesday - Lesson 03

In this lesson, we'll focus on the first principle of DA: indentifying and sharing learning goals with students. We'll start by deconstructing content standards into student-friendly language to tell students what they need to know, understand, and do. This information goes into the KUD chart. We'll also investigate how the KUD chart becomes a checklist to differentiate instruction and a template for designing both pre- and summative assessments. Finally, we'll talk about how to share learning goals with students in ways that motivate them and make our expectations clear.

Friday - Lesson 04

In Lesson 4, we'll look at the last three principles of DA: gathering evidence of understanding, adjusting instruction, and giving feedback to students. We'll start by seeing how you can use a versatile activity in different ways as a formative assessment, and then we'll explore how to use the information you gain from the assessment to adjust instruction. Specifically, you'll see examples of re-teaching in a different way and tiering instruction (adding more complex and less complex activities to accommodate students at different readiness levels). We'll also learn some tactics you can use to give students constructive, descriptive feedback.

Week 3

Wednesday - Lesson 05

Have you ever had a student who just didn't seem interested in learning? Today, we'll look at assessment strategies you can use to motivate the unmotivated learners in your classroom. You'll see how something as simple as a remote control can increase attention because it speaks students' digital language. We'll also explore how you can use seating arrangements and open-ended questions to encourage students to participate in classroom discussions. Finally, we'll investigate how you can use the jigsaw strategy to support or challenge learners in the classroom.

Friday - Lesson 06

Do you have a Mediocre Melanie in your classroom? This student is satisfied with doing only what it takes to get by. She shows up, completes assignments, rarely asks questions, and simply takes up space in the classroom. Today, we'll see how one teacher uses an anticipation guide, the Question-Answer-Relationship strategy, and a visual display to promote learning in students previously satisfied with maintaining the status quo.

Week 4

Wednesday - Lesson 07

Today, you'll meet Accelerated Alex. He seems to always be one step ahead of other students in the class, so it can be challenging to keep him interested. You'll see how you can use learning contracts and Think-Tac-Toe lessons to challenge him without being weighed down with grading all these individual assignments.

Friday - Lesson 08

In Lesson 8, we'll explore strategies to support students who are struggling to learn information without putting so much stress on them that they shut down. We'll talk about using snowball fights and every-pupil response strategies. You'll also see how you can divide students into groups according to the assessment information you collect from these strategies. This will give you more time to spend with struggling students while keeping the students who are getting it learning and engaged.

Week 5

Wednesday - Lesson 09

Assessing vocabulary doesn't have to be boring. In Lesson 9, you'll learn about engaging vocabulary assessment strategies you can use in your classroom. After all, the stronger students' vocabulary is, the better chance they will have of answering end-of-the-year assessment questions correctly. We'll investigate how the ABC Brainstorm, Most Important Words, What's My Name?, Find My Family, and List-Cluster-Title-Explain strategies bring vocabulary to life while fostering independence and transferring ownership of learning to your students at the same time.

Friday - Lesson 10

In Lesson 10, we'll take a look at something that's always a hot topic in the teaching world: grading. If you've ever felt lost while contemplating your grade book, this lesson is for you! You'll get advice to help you grade students against standards, not against each other. How do we really grade assignments? You might be surprised by an exercise that reveals how many of our expectations are implied. We'll look at how to use rubrics effectively to expose these implied expectations, and we'll finish by exploring some common grading practices to avoid. By the end of this lesson, you'll have the framework you need to assign grades with confidence.

Week 6

Wednesday - Lesson 11

As we've been exploring DA ideas throughout this course, have you been thinking to yourself, "How will I ever fit all these extra tasks into my day?" You might be surprised at how little time you need (and how DA can actually save you time)! In today's lesson, we'll investigate how to find time to implement and document assessment practices. You'll see how one teacher uses Quick Check forms to quickly document the mastery levels for each student. We'll explore time-saving techniques to keep bulletin boards updated, and we'll talk about how an assessment menu helps with lesson planning. Finally, you'll learn three new formative assessment strategies that you can use with your students: Four Corners, Muddiest Point, and Lesson Summary. You'll be on the road to saving time in no time!

Friday - Lesson 12

In Lesson 12, we'll bring your DA training full-circle as we look at how to cope with challenges, avoid burnout, and create a road map for successful implementation. This survival guide for busy teachers also includes some of my favorite management tips to streamline grading and choose what to selectively abandon. You'll learn how to transfer your new skills to the real world and see how the skills you've picked up can actually make your life easier while raising achievement at the same time.


I absolutely loved this course and want to redo my class like this course! There were many ideas I could immediately implement! I thought it was very easy to understand, and it made sense! Thank you so much!

Follow Us