Differentiated Instruction

Step 2: Using Data to Inform Practice

This step involves using data to inform decision making about teaching. Teachers initially examine evidence (assessment data, work samples, student observations) and identify specific instructional needs. Then, using data, teachers develop an instructional purpose to achieve standards-based goals. Next, using data, teachers assign students to small groups. Student memberships may be homogenous (grouped by similar skill) for explicit, teacher-led instruction or heterogeneous (mixed skill groupings) for small-group practice. Group memberships are flexible, changing dynamically to align instruction and need and to accommodate activity choices or available resources (time, equipment, or personnel). Data may be collected at the teaching table as the teacher monitors student performance. Additional information may be obtained by reviewing work samples. Data are constantly used to inform teaching, monitor progress, and make instructional adjustments for differentiating instruction and practice.

Collaborative or student-led practice activities using mixed-skill groupings enable students to provide constructive feedback to their peers when the teacher is unavailable. Group memberships change as student performance or instructional purpose change. Grouping patterns are flexible to ensure teaching and practice are always purposeful, meaningful, and specific to student needs.

pointer​ Next: Step 3: Managing Resources


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