Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsIn order to set up a sequence of activities in which you can differentiate, you need to be clear of your starting point. Soliciting ideas early on will help you understand where individuals and groups of students are in their learning. We introduced several tools to help you with this in our Assessment for Learning online course, and these will be useful here.

Skip to 0 minutes and 41 secondsSo using concept cartoons, or questions that prompt intentional dialogue, or KWL grids will be useful tools at the start of the topic.

How Assessment for Learning underpins effective Differentiating for Learning

Chris mentions specifically Concept Cartoons, questions that stimulate intentional dialogue and KWL grids as useful strategies to identify students’ starting points.

We will look more closely at such diagnostic activities in Step 2.5. These are all useful tools to stimulate student talk in order to help teachers identify students’ current levels of thinking and understanding.

Ideas like this and others are explored in more detail in our companion courses Introducing Assessment for Learning and Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment.

It is this effective use of assessment for learning that enables teachers to differentiate more effectively for their students. We will explore more diagnostic ideas during Activity Three this week and see our teachers using them in their classrooms.


We would like you to consider and share in the comments below any questions you have used that have helped you identify students’ starting points.

  1. What was the question?
  2. What did it tell you about where students were in their learning?

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This video is from the free online course:

Differentiation for Learning

National STEM Learning Centre