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differentiating instruction and assessment for ells
Vocabulary studies on ells
how to frame inquiry, what questions to ask
good material for assignment on solom reflective assessment
Classrooms across the country are welcoming an ever-growing number of students whose native language is not English.
Learning English is tough enough, especially so when you’re a student learning academic content at the same time.
Helping students meet academic goals while negotiating a new language challenges teachers, too. Each English language learner (ELL) has a unique set of abilities and educational experiences. At any given grade level, and in any given subject, their academic preparation differs, as does their familiarity with informal and academic English. To be of most assistance, teachers need to know how well each student is doing in any given area, at any moment.
One area of assessment—formative assessment—has recently grown in importance. Formative assessment occurs regularly during the school year and helps teachers and students monitor learning progress. Formative assessments help teachers identify where students are, and where they need to be, relative to learning goals. Teachers and students then address these gaps.
helps teachers measure student progress as they develop the essential language needed for success in academic classes
Singh, K.. (2011). Teacher Leadership: Making Your Voice Count. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 48(1), 6-10. Retrieved July 15, 2012, from ProQuest Education Journals. (Document ID: 2511692131).
To distribute leadership, as Woods and Gronn (2009) have suggested, organizational members must move past the traditional roles played in a "contractual" setting, where status determines relationships and work is accomplished in order to earn pay. These authors advised organizations to be careful to avoid using the distribution of leadership for control purposes, as mere delegation and a way of getting others to do more. They added that strong leadership is needed to move groups in this more democratic direction. In addition. Flessa (2009) investigated the micro-political aspect of distributed leadership and warned that a shift in roles challenges the traditional structure and spurs conflict, which staff and leader must be prepared to address. These new enhanced roles will only be fruitful and satisfying if teachers are fully informed about this model and if formal leaders know how to implement it correctly.
In this article, the author presents a brief overview of distributed leadership, as well as shares insights gained as the result of creating and leading a distributed leadership team for three years at a high school. Working with a team offers benefits; yet, to ensure smooth operation, certain factors must be taken into consideration. The author translates her insights into specific suggestions for both principals and teachers who are becoming more involved in distributed leadership models at their schools. Ultimately, the goal for teacher-leaders is to enjoy and benefit from the experience as well as to make worthwhile contributions where it counts - in the teachinglearning arena.
Conderman, G., & Hedin, L.. (2012). Purposeful Assessment Practices for Co-Teachers. Teaching Exceptional Children, 44(4), 19-27. Retrieved July 2, 2012, from ProQuest Education Journals. (Document ID: 2606422451).
Assessment refers to the process of gathering data on student performance to inform instructional decision making (Nitko & Brookhart, 2010). Due to the range of information gleaned through assessments, no single measure provides sufficient information for a global picture of student progress (Nolet & McLaughlin, 2005). Teachers need to have available and base their decisions on data from various assessments, such as those described in Table 1 . Table 1 illustrates how- based on their skills, familiarity with assessments, and relationship with students - coteachers can share assessment responsibilities. Planning for purposeful coassessment occurs at four points in time: as co-teaching teams form, before lessons or units of study begin, during instruction, and after instruction.
Before an instructional unit, co-teachers can assess what students already know by using the What I Know (K) and What I Want to Know (W) columns of a KWL chart
Olszewski-Kubilius, P.. (2010). The First Word: A Letter From the Special Issue Editor. Journal of Advanced Academics, 21(4), 561-567,752-753. Retrieved July 2, 2012, from ProQuest Education Journals. (Document ID: 2187698261).
enabling students to experience authentic work in the talent area, which is highly motivating;
* assisting students in acquiring the personal skills needed for success in the field, including the ability to receive and respond positively to feedback and criticism and deal with competition and setbacks;
* building motivation for high achievement by providing a better match to students' interests and learning styles, and by building a supportive peer network;
Nezakatgoo, B.. (2011). The Effects of Portfolio Assessment on Writing of EFL Students. English Language Teaching, 4(2), 231-241. Retrieved June 28, 2012, from Research Library. (Document ID: 2396966471).
The primary focus of this study was to determine the effect of portfolio assessment on final examination scores of EFL students' writing skill. To determine the impact of portfolio-based writing assessment 40 university students who enrolled in composition course were initially selected and divided randomly into two experimental and control groups. A quasi-experimental research design was adopted in this study. In order to appraise the homogeneity of the experimental and control groups Comprehensive English Language Test (CELT) was employed at the beginning of the study. The pre-test was applied to both the experimental group and control group. Later in the study, a post-test of dependent variables was implemented for both groups. Data analysis was carried out by SPSS 16 statistical computer program .The statistical techniques being applied were the Levene statistic of One-Way ANOVA and the Paired-sample T-test. The results of the study revealed that that students whose work was evaluated by a portfolio system (portfolio-based assessment) had improved in their writing and gained higher scores in final examination when compared to those students whose work was evaluated by the more traditional evaluation system (non-portfolio-based assessment).The findings of the present study highlighted the fact that portfolio assessment could be used as a complementary alternative along with traditional assessment to shed new light on the process of writing. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]
The results of these statistical analyses confirmed the significant effect of writing and assessing portfolios on final examination scores of writing of EFL students. A possible explanation of these results may be linked to efficiency of portfolio-based writing and assessment. It may be that these subjects were benefited from a sufficient time span that the researcher calls it gift of time that enables them to use challenging structures in their written task performance. Findings from this study indicated that writing and assessing portfolios were beneficial to students. Even if they encountered many problems in the process, they learned a lot from solving their problems and shouldering the ownership of responsibility of learning. The students of portfolio-based group benefited from the reflective nature of the task. Reflection was a self-assessment tool, which helped the learner in the experimental group of the current study to look at the strength and weaknesses of a particular learning activity and consider how to improve the weakness.
Hertberg-Davis, H.. (2009). Myth 7: Differentiation in the Regular Classroom Is Equivalent to Gifted Programs and Is Sufficient: Classroom Teachers Have the Time, the Skill, and the Will to Differentiate Adequately. The Gifted Child Quarterly, 53(4), 251-253. Retrieved June 28, 2012, from Research Library. (Document ID: 1940617081).
Full Text(1873 words)Copyright National Association for Gifted Children Fall 2009
Differentiation of instruction calls on a teacher to recognize that the students in his or her classroom differ from one another in a variety of ways - including readiness levels, interests, and learning profiles - and to respond to these differences with learning experiences matched to demonstrated individual student need (Tomlinson, 2003). This approach to teaching stands in stark contrast to approaches that assume that all students in a classroom, regardless of its heterogeneity, benefit and learn from a standard, one-size-fits-all curriculum.
Within the philosophy of differentiation, gifted students are regarded as a diverse lot whose individual talents and needs cannot be met with a single "gifted" curriculum. As such, recommendations for differentiating learning experiences for gifted students include principles of providing not only challenges generally considered beneficial for gifted students (e.g., greater depth and complexity, adjusted pace, greater independence) but also curricular and instructional modifications geared toward individual student need.
Taken at face value, the philosophy of differentiated instruction is hard to argue with - who wouldn't agree that students learn more efficiently and effectively when learning tasks are geared toward Üieir individual needs? Who wouldn't agree that differentiating the curriculum in a mixed-ability classroom isn't beneficial to the gifted students in mat classroom, most of who are used to, in the words of Sally Reis et al. (1993), waiting until January to learn anytiiing new?
In many ways, meeting the needs of gifted students tiirough differentiation of curriculum and instruction within me regular classroom seems a perfect solution to the issues mat have plagued gifted education for many years and remain largely unresolved: problems with inequities in identification (in a differentiated classroom, "identification" of student need is not a onetime event but an ongoing process of assessment tied to specific classroom goals), the need for an "in" or "out" mentality (space is not limited in the regular classroom), issues with pull-out gifted programs that are only a "part-time solution to a full-time problem" (students continually receive services matched to their needs when learning experiences are differentiated in the regular classroom), issues with how to define giftedness (assessing student strengths and needs can be flexible in a differentiated classroom, determined on a task-by-task basis), and me costs associated wim gifted programs (it doesn't cost any more - in dollars at least - to differentiate instruction in the regular classroom than to teach a one-size-fits-all curriculum). Misunderstandings about differentiation - that it is a form of scaffolding for struggling learners rather than a method of meeting the unique needs of all levels of learners, that it is primarily a group work strategy, that it is about providing fun choices rather than a thoughtful, concept-based curriculum - are prevalent in teachers new to differentiation and can lead to practices such as using gifted learners as anchors in group work to "make sure work gets done," using gifted students to help tutor other children, or sacrificing highlevel content for cute activities.
It comes as no surprise, men, that many school districts across me country have decided to eliminate or cut back on more traditional gifted programs in favor of differentiation of curriculum and instruction in the regular classroom. In many ways, meeting the needs of gifted students tiirough differentiation of curriculum and instruction within me regular classroom seems a perfect solution to the issues mat have plagued gifted education for many years and remain largely unresolved: problems with inequities in identification (in a differentiated classroom, "identification" of student need is not a onetime event but an ongoing process of assessment tied to specific classroom goals), the need for an "in" or "out" mentality (space is not limited in the regular classroom), issues with pull-out gifted programs that are only a "part-time solution to a full-time problem" (students continually receive services matched to their needs when learning experiences are differentiated in the regular classroom), issues with how to define giftedness (assessing student strengths and needs can be flexible in a differentiated classroom, determined on a task-by-task basis), and me costs associated wim gifted programs (it doesn't cost any more - in dollars at least - to differentiate instruction in the regular classroom than to teach a one-size-fits-all curriculum). So why is it a myth that differentiated instruction in the regular classroom is an appropriate substitute for gifted programs?
In truth, it shouldn't be a myth. Classrooms should be places where teachers uncover and foster talent in all students by finding pathways into content through students' interests and ways to scaffold learning so mat rich, high-level concepts are accessible. They should be places where students who excel in a certain area or areas confront continual challenge and opportunities to grow and where appropriate curriculum is not determined by a label affixed to a student but by a teacher's knowledge of the unique strengths, interests, learning preferences, and needs ofthat child.
But the reality is that the way we "do school" does not make it easy for classrooms to be places where individual student needs, rather than pressure to pass a standardized test, ultimately shape the curriculum. Although differentiation and state standards can peacefully coexist in a classroom (see Tomlinson, 2000), teachers often find it difficult to reconcile attending to student differences with a broader high-stakes testing culture that seems to mandate the opposite. Recent research indicates that the high-stakes testing associated with /Vo Child Left Behindhas rendered the regular classroom even less hospitable to gifted learners than it was previously, causing teachers to resort to drill-and-kill techniques over more student-centered approaches (e.g., Moon, Brighton, & Callahan, 2003).
Many teachers also seem resistant to differentiation because they perceive it as highly time consuming. It does take longer to plan thoughtful differentiated units and lessons than to present a one-size-fits-all curriculum. Of course, the amount of time it takes to plan differentiated curriculum decreases over time as teachers become more accustomed to the process, learn to plan efficiently, and develop a storehouse of differentiated lessons and units from which to work. But the initial planning is off-putting to many teachers, causing them to write differentiation off as unrealistic or to differentiate only for the students who they perceive need it most.
Unfortunately, research indicates that teachers in heterogeneous classrooms tend not to include gifted students in the group of students they believe most need differentiation. Westberg, Archambault, Dobyns, and Salvin (1993) found that little differentiation in the instructional and auricular practices of teachers was provided for high-ability learners in regular classrooms, an issue confirmed by Westberg and Daoust (2004). When teachers do differentiate, they tend to focus their efforts on the more struggling learners in the classroom, believing that gifted students do not "need" differentiation (Brighton, Hertberg, Callahan, Tomlinson, & Moon, 2005).
Misunderstandings about differentiation - that it is a form of scaffolding for struggling learners rather than a method of meeting the unique needs of all levels of learners, that it is primarily a group work strategy, that it is about providing fun choices rather than a thoughtful, concept-based curriculum - are prevalent in teachers new to differentiation and can lead to practices such as using gifted learners as anchors in group work to "make sure work gets done," using gifted students to help tutor other children, or sacrificing highlevel content for cute activities. These and other early misuses of differentiation can actually make the regular classroom a less challenging place for gifted learners, pointing to the need for thoughtful ongoing professional development to make differentiation a viable option for educating gifted students. Although the literature on teacher change very clearly indicates that meaningful change requires sustained focus and long-term professional development (Fullan, 1993), most teachers expected to differentiate instruction receive little training or support beyond a single oneday, whole-school workshop. Clearly, such drive-by professional development experiences are not sufficient to do the complex and multifaceted work of dramatically changing the way teachers conceive of teaching and learning or altering their beliefs about who, in the end, are the students on whom their limited resources should be expended.
It is also unrealistic to assume that every teacher is appropriately trained to be the sole in-school guide of a gifted student's education for a year. In all but one state, nothing beyond a cursory glance at the needs of gifted students is required to prepare teachers to teach in the regular classroom (Starko, 2008). The limited research on the effectiveness of teachers with training in gifted education suggests that gifted education coursework affects teachers' effectiveness in matching curriculum and instruction to the needs of their most able learners (Robinson, 2008). Additionally, to differentiate curriculum in meaningful ways for all students, and in particular for gifted learners, teachers need a deep understanding of the scope and sequence, big ideas, resources, and unanswered questions of a discipline. This is a particularly tall order for elementary school teachers, who are responsible for content spanning numerous disciplines.
For all these reasons - lack of sustained teacher training in the specific philosophy and methods of differentiation, underlying beliefs prevalent in our school culture that gifted students do fine without any adaptations to curriculum, lack of general education teacher training in the needs and nature of gifted students, and the difficulty of differentiating instruction without a great depth of content knowledge - it does not seem that we are yet at a place where differentiation within the regular classroom is a particularly effective method of challenging our most able learners.
Two dangers seem inherent in writing an article claiming that it is a myth that differentiation is a sufficient approach to educating the gifted. It may appear to be advocating for abandoning differentiation of instruction entirely or to be advocating for a strict educational diet of ability-grouped classes. Neither of these is intended. Differentiation of instruction both within the regular classroom and within homogeneous settings is critical to addressing the needs of all highability learners, including twice-exceptional students, underachievers, students from underserved populations, and highly gifted students. Differentiation has been shown, even in small doses, to have an impact on student achievement and attitudes toward learning (Brighton et al., 2005). It has the potential to be a powerful tool for fostering me talents of gifted students who are readily identifiable and unlocking the talents of gifted students who are not. But, like any approach to educating gifted students, it functions best as a critical component within a spectrum of services provided for high-ability learners.
Hollins, E. R., McIntyre, L. R., DeBose, C., Hollins, K. S., & Towner, A. (2004). Promoting a self-sustaining learning community: investigating an internal model for teacher development. International Journal Of Qualitative Studies In Education (QSE), 17(2), 247
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