Differentiation, Assessment and Grading: Redefining Fair
Differentiation is a necessary response to the changing demography of schools, to our deepening understanding of how students learn, and to the changing demands of society and the world at large. But the greatest obstacles to differentiation are outdated beliefs about “fairness”. As long as fairness is equated with sameness, teachers, students and parents will perceive variations in teaching and assessment as being unfair. In this webinar for the edWeb.net Assessment for Learning community, Damian Cooper, Education Consultant, Plan-Teach-Assess prompted educators to rethink how we define our understanding of “fairness” and “excellence” in 21st century schools. He described how teachers must assess and grade in ways that demand excellence from all students. If a commitment to excellence is the mission of today’s schools, teachers must be highly skilled in adapting curriculum, assessment, and instruction on the basis of students’ differing strengths, needs and interests. Damian showed teachers how to understand the relationship between assessment for learning and assessment of learning, use assessment tools to encourage learning, plan assessment tasks to match students’ needs, and to ensure that report cards convey essential information clearly to parents and students.
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Assessment for Learning is a professional learning community (PLC) that provides ideas and resources for teachers to help them with instruction and real-time, formative assessment. The best practices, which are researched-based and relatively easy to introduce into the classroom, can have a tremendous impact on student achievement. This program is sponsored by Triumph Learning.
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