Science Sampler: Differentiated assessmentby: Kirstin Bittel

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One of the goals of science education is to encourage students to think and reason at increasingly higher levels. In order to accomplish this goal, the authors created a unique form of assessment that not only encourages students to work at the highest critical-thinking level possible, but also allows them creative liberty to express their understandings of the big ideas. This enables all students, including English language learners and special education students, to achieve their potential through the use of peer support and a menu of final projects.

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Reviews (3)
  • on Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:05 PM

Students in a class at the culmination of a unit were allowed to pick the level of a final project that would gain them a grade of A, B, C or D. This sort of contract with the teacher had to be signed by parents. Students were then paired up and given a choice of topics to work on for one week. The final project assessment is laid out in this article and students could gain an A for an assignment that was considered higher order thinking skills, down to a D which was only knowledge skills. Suggestions at each level are presented for students to choose. I think this might be a good idea but I don’t see a parent signing off for a D level product.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:37 PM

The authors gave their students a choice regarding the level of authentic assessments that they would like to achieve on a menu of selection items. Findings indicated that 79% of the students selected the “A” category wit 57% of the total students earning A’s. The students selected their project level with parent approval; 98% of students selected projects that required higher level thinking skills. The article includes a thorough example of the student-selected assessments as well as a discussion of potential pitfalls. This method described is a great way to tap into student understanding of big ideas and move away from multiple-choice assessments

Patricia McGinnis  (Pottstown, PA)
Patricia McGinnis (Pottstown, PA)

  • on Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:56 AM

This article on differentiated assessment describes how some teachers set up projects for students to choose from. The level of difficulty of the project determined their grade if they successfully completed it. The more difficult the task, the higher the grade. More students chose higher grades and more students achieved these higher grades.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

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