When you have approximately twenty students in one class, it can become quite time-consuming identifying each of their needs in order to achieve specific objectives. You may think, how is it possible to create an individual learning path for each student? Or do you even have the time dedicated to do this? Well, we’ve come up with five simple tips that can support you in differentiation and how you can apply it to your class.
1. Distinguish your students’ benchmark
As your first step into differentiating is knowing your students’ abilities and pinpointing areas that they may need more support on, a useful tip to remember is using benchmark tests. We all know how handy these tests are, which are great to measure your students’ academic path throughout the year, evaluating their grade level and understanding what learning goals are needed in order to reach their goal. There are many options to explore benchmarking, using either interim or formative assessment to diagnose any gaps in your students’ learning.
2. Defining standards
Use this as your starting point and work your way through each objective referring them back to your students’ capabilities. Don’t forget to ask yourself, are they meeting the grade level for each one? If not, identify what needs to be done in order for them to progress, which can be done through lesson plans, resources, activities and a range of different content.
3. Creating individualized learning paths
I know you’re thinking that this is time-consuming, or you’ve tried it and you’ve notice how tedious it can become, but this is where the fun happens! You’ve gathered all of your information with your students, now it’s time to use that and create a personalized learning path for them. The benefits of this are ensuring each student is working towards a specific goal and are not missing out on any learning opportunities. As you will know, it will allow them to work at their own pace, with tailored content for their educational paths.
4. Tracking your students’ progression
How regularly should you monitor your students? Do you do it throughout the year? If that’s a yes, then you will know that it’s a great way to get informative results by tracking it before and after. Tests and quizzes (formative assessment) always give a clear understanding of how well students have progressed, giving you an evaluation of what areas need more focus on for each student, or if they’re ahead, what adjustments can be made in your classes.
5. Repeat the process
The main aim is to be comfortable with each step, seeing the impact it has on your students’ learning and how they’ve progressed throughout the year. The great thing about differentiated instruction is that you can alter as you go along. Nothing is ever the same, so continue personalizing paths for your students who will be on their way to success!
Although this may sound overwhelming, the end results are worth it! Attempting this manually is quite time-consuming, which is why there are many classroom technology tools that can support you with personalization. Did you know Edmentum International has a range of learning solutions to get you started?