Section 4: Using this System for Planning and Instruction
Using OGT Data to Create Differentiated Instruction
“Offering multiple and varied avenues to learning is a hallmark of the kind of professional quality that denotes [teaching] expertise” (Tomlinson, 9).
Teachers and School Leaders can use student performance data and information from ongoing classroom assessment to differentiate instruction. You should use data from both your OGT reports and your daily work with students. This section will help you develop a plan for differentiating instruction and assess how your plan worked by walking you through the stages of teaching and learning: reflect, plan, teach, assess, and communicate.
Reflect. Refer to the Reflection templates for teachers (Grades 9 and 10, Grade 11). These templates provide a helpful starting point for reviewing OGT data (and classroom assessment results, if available) and creating your instructional plan. In addition, download the Collaborative Team Meetings Template, a useful tool for you to review with your colleagues.
Then, select, print out and review the OGT data reports. The Tips for Teachers and Tips for School Leaders provide guidance on how to choose the reports that best fit your needs. Take time to review and reflect on the data to determine the strengths and needs of students.
Plan. As with any instructional plan, after you reflect on the OGT and other data available to you, review the benchmarks and indicators you will teach in a particular lesson or unit and determine what your students should know and be able to do at the end. Then, plan assessment and instructional activities to make learning accessible to all students.
Remember! As you plan classroom instruction and assessment, you have important information to help differentiate your instruction:
- The OGT data that show your students’ strengths and needs by content standard;
- The Ohio Academic Content Standards, which describe what your students should know and be able to do before they graduate;
- Your school’s curriculum and textbooks, as well as the lessons you have created, which inform the content you will cover and the instructional strategies you will use;
- The Teaching Tools that provide information and activities for each content standard.
You manage different kinds of learners by considering how individual students will handle new material. This careful consideration of student readiness is the basis of differentiated instruction.
When thinking about how to differentiate a lesson to meet diverse student needs, you need to begin with a clear picture of where you want the students to be at the end of the lesson. Use the Planning templates as your guides; they will walk you through the important questions you need to ask as you determine which standards and benchmarks your lessons will address and how you will assess student learning during and at the end of your lessons.
After you have a clear picture of where you want students to be at the end of each lesson, click the Teaching Tools tab at the top of this page to learn more about the content standards and how these resources can support your instruction.
Review the Strategies to find activities for students at each performance level.
Your lesson plans should incorporate a mix of activities for students, including the following:
- Whole-class activities
- Small-group activities (pairs, triads, quads)
- Individualized activities
- Student teacher conferences
You can vary the activities to allow some students to work alone and others in groups. You can also include activities that allow students to demonstrate understanding in various ways. These may include writing, drawing, demonstrations, or oral presentations. It will become clear that planning for differentiated instruction takes more time and effort to ensure that there is an adequate variety of activities—with active learning as a key component of your plan.
Teach. This is where you put your plan into action. In the Planning templates, you anticipated potential challenges in teaching your differentiated instruction lesson plan. Keep in mind that you should begin differentiating your instruction by choosing just one strategy to use. Be sure that you have all the necessary materials and that you are well organized. The key is to start small and to keep your eyes on the goal: improved student achievement.
Assess. By using the Planning templates, you will have a clear idea of when to assess your students’ performance and your own instruction. Refer to the Assess templates and review the guiding questions that will help you use the assessment results. You may refer to the OGT data to see whether your instructional strategies appear to have addressed specific student needs. Were you surprised by your students’ results? How did your differentiated instruction affect student learning? Addressing these and other questions will help you determine the effectiveness of your differentiated lesson plan.
“Differentiation is rooted in assessment. A teacher who understands the need for teaching and learning to be a good match for students looks for every opportunity to know her students better” (Tomlinson, 4).
Communicate. After you have assessed your students, you will want to communicate your findings with students, parents and colleagues. This will help to ensure that students have all the support they need both at school and at home.
- Communicate expectations to students about what they should know and be able to do.
- Talk to students and parents about how students are progressing and where they still need to focus.
- Discuss student performance and instructional strategies with colleagues. Go to the Professional Development Tool Increasing Collaboration and Communication Using OGT Data for tips and templates on working in collaborative teams to improve student achievement.
- Talk to your school leaders about patterns of performance across your class and/or grade. These discussions can lead to the development of school-wide strategies to address areas that need improvement and to reinforce areas of strength.
Reflect and Plan. Once again, you should take time to reflect on the results of the OGT and assessment data to inform your plans and next steps. The Reflect and Planning templates available on this site remain useful guides for modifying your instructional strategies and goals. The following questions may also be helpful as you return to reflect on the data at hand and begin planning:
- How do data from recent classroom assessments update your understanding of students’ needs?
- Is the class on target to meet the learning goals of your differentiated lesson? What evidence demonstrates this?
- If students are not on target, what other instructional strategies can you try? Do you need to revise your goals so that students can achieve small steps that will put them on track to achieve the benchmarks?
- What particular resources in your school or district (colleagues, subject specialists, master teachers, professional development workshops and materials, books, and lectures) can you access to get fresh ideas for your instructional strategies and goals?
You may find it helpful to set up regular meetings with your colleagues to generate ideas and activities for differentiated instruction that meets the learner goals and addresses the needs of your students. School leaders and teachers will find more ideas for establishing an effective process for this collaboration in the tool Increasing Collaboration and Communication Using OGT Data.