The main purpose of differentiated instructions is to introduce engaging and challenging assignments that would advance learning among students with various skills and levels of background knowledge. In this respect, differentiated instructions imply individual-centered teaching approaches based on content, product, and process. Moreover, differentiated instruction encourages students and recognizes differences among the learners with multiple types of intelligences.
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Acknowledging differences in perceiving various performances and roles is important, but what is more important is that teachers should measure the level and degree to which students are different, as well as define strategies that would allow to distinguish performances to introduce differentiated instructions. In this respect, pre-assessment and post-assessment techniques are indispensible to defining performance and establishing the framework for differentiating instructions for the lesion.
Lack of pre-assessment and post-assessment techniques can lead to inappropriate creation of instructions for various disciplines. Teachers should realize the importance of distinguishing between students’ skills, experiences, and background knowledge.
To highlight the importance of pre-assessment test and feedback strategies, Shelton (2007) provides the cases of Measures for Academic Progress, a program initiated at Maclary Elementary School, to show the consequences of inappropriate feedback and performance assessment strategies leading to failure to differentiate instructions to students.
In particular, Shelton (2007) explains, “…many of teachers at Maclary believe that whole class instructions is required to adhere to the district pacing guide, which, in turn, prevents them from individualization of instruction” (p. 3). The initiated test is based on formative assessment. However, teachers fail to understand how to operate data received from assessment and, as a result, they cannot provide differentiation of instructions.
Such a strategy, therefore, cannot be applied to instructions for a gifted class. The point is that the majority of gifted students have a unique way of thinking and learning and the use of instructions and methods of teaching is vital for developing their skills and abilities in future. Failure to understand individual peculiarities and focus on a holistic evaluation of class skills is inacceptable as far as gifted students are concerned.
As it has been previously mentioned, the learning process is premised on the analysis of people, processes, and products. Thus, excess focus on a process-product approach does not always provide required results in teaching and learning strategies for students given the fact that most of students come to a class with various background knowledge.
In this regard, the priorities should be given to teachers’ evaluation of students’ readiness to achieve results. In this respect, Wilkerson et al. (2000) have proved that students achieve “better feedback than the ratings of others when the focus is student performance” (p. 190). Teachers’ personal evaluations of student performance are also considered great predicators of student achievement.
Within these perspectives, the researchers have concluded that students can also distinguish teacher performance with regard to their own learning achievement. Thus, there should be a strong correlation between teachers and students perception of an academic process. In addition, to make the feedback effective, teachers should also involve feedback to introduce corrective and reflective steps, as well as formative and summative assessments of student performance of learning outcomes.
With regard to the presented research, a gifted classroom should also be subject to this type of feedback to assess students’ perception of teachers’ evaluation and define how process and products should be introduced to improve students’ performance.
Feedback strategy has a direct influence on motivation and productivity of students. In this respect, the choice of feedback strategy should coincide with the identified level of performance among students with multiple intelligences. Beaulieu and Love (2006) have defined that “the feedback strategy that best fits the situation depends, at least in part, on the performance of the person evaluated” (p. 78).
At the same time, it has been reported that students chose the feedback strategies that differed significantly from those chosen by their teachers (Beaulieu and Love, 2006). Such a perspective in evaluation should also be taken into deepest consideration for teachers to be able to introduce effective pre-assessment and post-assessment techniques to differentiate instructions (Beaulieu and Love, 2006).
In particular, a gifted classroom should also be informed about teaching strategies to define their attitude to the chosen approaches, as well as predict which strategies are the most appropriate this group of learners.
Feedback strategy concept should also be strongly associated with the function of observed performance, which is considered more positive. In this respect, teachers should also pay attention to hierarchical organization and its influence on feedback strategy (Beaulieu and Love, 2006). In this respect, teachers should be able to regard students are direct participants of performance appraisal rather than as subjects of the assessment processes.
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Multiple-choice testing is an effective tool for assessing students’ level of knowledge and defines the approaches to differentiating instructions. It also provides sufficient measure of student performance. Moreover, it increases the objectivity of assessing students’ skills, as well as contributes to effective time management. However, multiple choice testing has a number of disadvantages which should be considered before applying it in a gifted classroom.
According to Butler and Roediger (2008), “the multiple-cho0ice test presents a unique situation because it exposes students to erroneous information in form of lure items” (p. 604). As a result, students face a possibility of acquiring false knowledge. In order to minimize the negative effects of multiple-choice testing, it is necessary to integrate effective feedback strategy. This is of particular concern to the analysis of students’ attitude in a gifted classroom.
By means of feedback introduction, “students’ ability to differentiate between correct and incorrect responses was explored through the absolute correspondence between the confidence estimates and the proportion of correct responses” (Butler & Roediger, 2008, p. 612). In particular, once the feedback has been provided, the amount of false information obtained from students reduced significantly. In addition, introducing feedback neutralized the effects of multi-choice alternatives.
Thus, the knowledge of correctness or falseness of responses that students received during test increased students’ understanding and performance. Therefore, a gifted classroom is a special group who should also be knowledgeable of the mistakes they make during assessments. In such a way, it is also possible to define how students react to misfortunes in test to make the corresponding correction to the instructions.
With regard to the above-presented assumptions, post-assessment techniques are vital to improving students’ knowledge and evaluating their readiness to study a specific academic discipline. Moreover, students could feel that teachers pay closer attention to their attitude to a learning process. In this respect, Fluckiger (2010) suggests that teachers should consider students as partners to enhance learning during assessment.
The researcher has introduces several techniques that contribute to students’ integration to an academic process as teachers’ partners. Specifically, the techniques involve group feedback on process, progress, and product; student conferencing; shared analysis of students’ questions and statement; and finally, feedback through collaborative task blogs. These approaches provide feedback in a timely manner, as well as insure timely revisions and scaffolding practices to learners.
Moreover, they also introduce differentiation to the instructions and involve students as equal participants during assessments. These feedback strategies result in improved instruction and advanced student learning. Finally, such an approach provides significant improvement to a teaching process as well.
A gifted classroom management can benefit significantly from the above-proposed feedback because teachers can engage into a learning process and define students’ strengths and weaknesses in a more effective way. Specifically, while communication with students individually, a teacher can analyze responses, as well as students’ readiness to cooperate.
In conclusion, differentiated instructions are imperative for enhancing students’ performance and working out effective academic curriculum. This type of teaching insures a person-centered approach and improves students’ awareness of the objectives of a learning process.
In order to differentiate instructions successfully, introducing pre- and post-assessments is significant because it identifies the degree of students’ readiness to learn a specific discipline. While considering the fact that students are gifted individuals with different intelligences, teachers should recognize the fact of existence of various performances and adjust their vision to a new learning environment.
More importantly, assessment reduces possibility of perceiving false knowledge by students and defines students’ needs in an effective way. Finally, it has been found that teachers should also rely on pre-assessment techniques to define students’ achievement after the performance appraisal.
Beaulieu, R. P., & Love, K. G., (2006).The Impact of Level of Performance on Feedback Strategy. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 19(1), 67-82.
Butler, A. C., & Roediger, H. L. (2008). Feedback Enhances the Positive Effects and Reduces Effects of Multiple-Choice Testing. Memory & Cognition, 36(3), 604-616.
Fluckiger, J. (2010). Formative Feedback: Involving Students as Partners in Assessment to Enhance Learning. College Teaching, 58(4), 136.
Shelton, D. (2007). Using Formative Assessment to Differentiate Instructions: A Plan to Build a Culture of Continuous Improvement. ProQuest. pp. 1-89.
Wilkerson, D. J., Manatt, R. P., Rogers, M. A., and Maughan, R. (2000). Validation of Student, Principal, and Self-Ratings, in 360º Feedback for Teacher Evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education. 14(2), 179-192.