Assessment for Learning in History: Maximizing Error Analysis to bridge students’ learning gaps in answering Source-Based Case Study Questions, pp. 7 of 13

3. Differentiating Instruction

Differentiated instruction can be introduced into the error analysis lesson as another way of increasing students’ engagement in bridging their learning gaps. This is because not every student is ready to attempt the highest level of thinking and explanation in their answers. Differentiated instruction in the form of tiering helps the teacher to move away from the one standard approach of questioning and teaching. Since every student differs in readiness, interest, ability and needs, tiering helps to pave the way to the next level of readiness for each student. According to Wormeli (2006), tiering means primarily emphasising the adjustments we make in assessments according to students’ readiness levels, not interests or learner profiles. Differentiating the instruction demonstrates that the teacher recognizes that learning works better when the error analysis activity is adjusted to provide different tiers or stages of difficulty which will enable them to keep pace with their own learning and move onto the next level of readiness.

3(a). Tiered instruction based on their results

This can be done by providing “next” tiers of sample answers for different groups of students to evaluate and point out successes in the different sample answers. The tiered instruction based on the students’ current attained levels of answers can be found in Figure 5. My aim was for each student to draw the links to their next level of readiness. For instance, high needs students (those scoring less than 4 out of 6 marks) are directed to reading and evaluating Student D’s answer (which is deemed as “mid-ability” level). Similarly, those who are considered “low needs” students (those already scoring 4 marks and above), are directed to reading and evaluating Student E’s answer (which has been identified as the “highest level of excellence”). This simple tiered instruction enabled my students to be suitably challenged to their next differentiated readiness level without feeling a sense of de-motivation.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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