Differentiated Instruction and Authentic Assessment

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Research Question: Would Differentiated Instruction and Authentic Assessment Improvement Student Achievement? Thank you for participating in this interview. Your identity will be kept confidential. The purpose of this interview is to discuss if improved instruction and non traditional assessment will improve student achievement.

I Describe your current teaching methods?

T During my time as a teacher I have relied on direct instruction as a method for introducing new material along with reviewing other material. I find that this method works well for my students who have trouble concentrating and paying attention to my lesson. I try to use cooperative learning in my classes, but my students do not work well under these lessons.

I Describe your methods of assessment?

T My methods of assessment are usually paper and pencil. Though I do use computer generated or based assessments. Many times throughout the school year I do use a project based assessment tool to instruct and prepare students with the ability to do a long range assignment. In addition, I use the computer for these assignments. For example I prepare my students for the school yearbook with a long range computer assignment as part of an ongoing lesson. I always try to move away from paper and pencil assessments, such as tests to a more hands on assessment since my students must show proficiency in order to move along in the assigned course work. I also feel that the students show more effort in hands on assessment since there is something to show for their efforts.

I Do think using a differentiated instruction teaching model will improve student achievement?

T I feel that in my time as a teacher my students do respond to a more project based lesson in comparison to my lecturing the class. Since my students have not been successful in a traditional high school setting I make an effort to not teach in a traditional direct instruction lesson. For me to be successful in my classes I must always try new instructional methods to engage my students, which helps me keep them focused.

I Do you think differentiated instruction teaching model will engage your students in the lessons?

T In most cases my students are engaged in the lesson, but if I am not prepared with enough work for twice the time they are in my class I have issues in engaging them. Being At Risk students makes it a challenge every day for me to use a method other than me talking to them.

I Do you believe students critical thinking skills will be enhanced with a differentiated instruction model?

T Surprisingly, I find that when the students are doing hands on work they a forced to use critical thinking skills. One this I always try to do in my lessons is to not provide them with the easy way to solve to lesson or to make the research or discuss the lessons outcomes on their own.

I How would you describe your teaching abilities?

T I would describe my teaching abilities as finally getting to the point where I feel comfortable in the class and in my lesson. I say that because I have now been teaching for five years. In the past I was unsure and the students challenged me, especially since I was doing more direct instruction> But, as I began to use more of a differentiated lesson model I have been able to see what works and what does not work. This has made me feel more comfortable in the class and with my lessons.

I How would you describe student’s academic progress?

T This is probable the most difficult question to answer. Since I deal with students who have difficulty in school I must always look for positive progress on a daily basis. I use an assessment tool everyday to p[provide students with immediate feedback. In most cases I see progress everyday.

I Do you feel that engaged student will have less discipline issues?

T Simply put, there is less behavior problems in my class because all students must be involved in the lesson and in order to get a positive assessment they must work on the lesson. So for my classes, there has been a reduction in behavior issues, for the most part.

I How would you rate the effectiveness your school’s discipline policy?

T The school’s discipline policy is very strict and sets high expectations for all students. I believe that is the reason for the school’s mandate for students to be engaged in the lesson so there are less discipline issues.

I Do you think students can show proficiency in other ways than traditional paper and pencil assessments?

T I have no doubt that all students can show proficiency other than using a paper and pencil test. As I stated earlier in this interview, my students are always assessed by what they show me or produce in my class. So yes, I believe that proficiency can be shown in other ways than paper and pencil assessments.