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Assessment: Differentiated Instruction and Evaluation

What is differentiated learning and what is its role in assessment? How do topics of evaluation and grading aid teaching teams and educational colleagues in providing a good education to young people?

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Differentiated learning is the practice of creating learning opportunities that serve students of a variety of abilities. In order to best approach this ideal, there are a variety of elements of the learning process that should be taken into consideration for each child involved.

Assessment is the collection of evidence of material learned, usually in quantifiable or otherwise measurable formats. These include tests, journals, observations, and other assessments. It is important that assessments create opportunities for communication and student-educator relationships. In fact, "frequent formative assessment helps students become more involved in setting their own learning goals and assessing their progress, they become comfortable analyzing and discussing with teachers and peers how well they understand target knowledge and skills" (Formative Assessment, 2011).

Evaluation is the means of analyzing the material collected during an assessment and organizing it in some way that creates a clear picture of what has been learned. A component linking teacher effectiveness to student outcomes is a necessary part of any effective educational evaluation system. Vandevoort, Amrein-Beardsley, and Berliner (2004) examined academic performance results of elementary students in both National Board Certified Teachers and those who were not certified for 4 years, finding that students in the classes of National Board Certified Teachers surpassed students in the non-Board certified teachers in almost three quarters of the comparisons, suggesting that teacher use of research-based strategies impacts student learning. (VanTassel et al, 2007)

Grading is ...