Pre-Assessment for Differentiation TeachNOW Unit 5 Activity 1

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In my class, the greatest variance in levels tend to be in math. Therefore, it would be better to do a pre-assessment at the beginning of the week and then Wednesday during the week when we move to more word problems to determine where the gaps in knowledge are in my classroom (Pendergrass, 2013) (Tomlinson, 2003). This is will allow me to better help my students by providing differentiated instruction. In general, the math assessments at the beginning of the week will be 10 problems long. And the word problem assessment will only be five problems long. This is because the period is only 30 minutes long, so it goes really fast.

The class level is 2nd grade. And the core curriculum standard I’m addressing is fluently adding and subtracting numbers within 100.

Categories of Learners

Advanced Learners

These learners need a challenge. These students if they miss 2 or less questions on the assessment are ready to begin working on word problems and projects. These students will move directly onto word problems at the beginning of the week which are part of a project called the classroom party budget. These students will be challenged in a more in-depth way both by analyzing the problems within the project and by being asked to use subtraction and addition in real life situations. They also can help Read Learners who are struggling if they so choose.

Ready Learners

Ready learners have partial mastery. Since they only missed 3-4 questions out of a 10 question problem, or they missed 2 of the word problem questions. They clearly have a basic understanding of addition and subtraction, but they need just a little more practice and work on identifying key words and important points. So, I need to encourage them to develop their understanding.

These students will be assigned completion of a worksheet, and then they must explain to me or their partner how they did the project in English. By verbalizing and explaining their process, they should be able to identify patterns and develop full mastery of the concept. These students would work with number lines and base ten blocks to further help visualization of their answers.

Developing Learners

These students missed  half or more of the assessment questions. These students must first be analyzed for why they are struggling. Some developing learners are ADHD or dyslexic. As a result, small differentiation tweaks to the assignments might allow theses students to rise to the Ready group quickly. Other students might be struggling since this is the first time they’ve seen the process. They’ll work with me the majority of the time. And by the third day should be able to solve simple addition and subtraction problems.

These students should start with addition and move onto subtraction since subtraction tends to be the harder of the two schools. If struggling with word problems, these students like the ELL students will be given a math key word reference list and work on highlight key information in word problems before beginning the word problem. These students must be the most carefully monitored. Eventually, I would hope that these students can explain in English how they solved the problem.

In addition, the students would work with number lines and base ten blocks to further help visualization of their answers.

Special Needs Learners

For my class, I would mainly focus on ADHD or dyslexic students due to the type of school I work in. These students would benefit both from specialized tutoring and careful monitoring.

An ADHD student when working on word problems could be helped by being allowed to highlight key points in the word problems. They also can be assigned shorter assignments but given more assignments overall. This should help with the attention span. These students might also be allowed to work standing up. A dyslexic student who need an IEP drawn up, so I could provide differentiated assessments uniquely suited to the student. In addition, the students would work with number lines and base ten blocks to further help visualization of their answers and also double check their answers.

ELL Students

These students are more likely to struggle with the word problem section of the week. As a result, these students will be carefully monitored, but also they will be given a mathematic word reference lists. This list will allow them to readily see math keyword definitions. Much like the ADHD student, I will ask ELL students to identify key words. This will help overcome some of the issues these students might have with vocabulary in word problems. I might also reduce the word count on word problems ELL students do.

Pendergrass, E. (2013). Differentiation: It starts with pre-assessment. Education Leadership, 71(4). Retrieved from

Tomlinson, C. A. (2003). Deciding to teach them all. Educational Leadership, 61(2), 6–11


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