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Using Formative Assessment to Differentiate Mathematics Instruction, Grades 4–10

Using Formative Assessment to Differentiate Mathematics Instruction, Grades 4–10
Seven Practices to Maximize Learning

  • Leslie Laud - Bank Street College of Education, New York, USA

March 2011 | 168 pages | Corwin

Seven easy steps to differentiating math instruction for busy teachers

Are you able to support your struggling students while also challenging your high achievers? Research clearly shows the value of using formative assessment to differentiate mathematics instruction, but putting it into practice can be daunting. This book makes it much easier! Staff development expert and former math teacher Leslie Laud provides a clear roadmap for using formative assessment to differentiate mathematics instruction for students in Grades 4–10, using strategies ideal for a Response to Intervention (RTI) model. She presents a comprehensive framework of research-based practices that show how to:

  • Get started and establish norms
  • Implement formative assessment
  • Create tiered lessons
  • Manage a multitasking classroom effectively

Tested and enhanced by experienced math teachers, the book's strategies are designed for use in conjunction with any curriculum or textbook. Included are a wealth of practical examples, reproducibles, and student activities—all developed with effective time management in mind. Whether you are just starting or interested in enhancing your mathematics instruction, this book will prove an invaluable resource.

List of Figures
About the Author
1. Getting Started and Establishing Norms
Getting Started

Establishing Class Norms

2. Formative Assessment
What is Formative Assessment?

Where Am I? Involving Students in Self-Assessment

Where Am I Going? Conveying Criteria or Learning Targets

How Will I Get There? Providing Feedback

Impact of Assessment on Confidence and Motivation

3. Tiered Instruction
What Is a Tiered Lesson?

Tiering by Student Characteristics

Tiering by Instructional Characteristics

Tiering Existing Textbook Lessons

Creating a Tiered Lesson

4. Supporting Students Who Are Low Achieving
Differentiating Instruction in Basic Facts

Differentiating for Conceptual Understanding

Differentiating Procedural Support

5. Challenging Students Who Are High Achieving
Exemptions Based on Prior Knowledge and/or Pace of Learning

Opportunities for Higher-Order Math

Strategies to Avoid

Importance of Challenge

6. Time-Saving Management Strategies
Planning Lessons and Units

Managing Students Working on Different Tasks

Assigning Homework



Suggested Resources

"The powerful principles described can enhance stduents' learning of mathematics inside and outside the classroom and help teachers modify their lessons and teachings. It is a great way to enrich the teaching and learning of mathematics concepts in middle schools as well as reaching low and high achievers in the classroom."

Wladina Antoine
Farleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, February 2012

My course is a multi-term secondary methods course. I adopted Laud's book for the second term of the course when my teacher candidate are developing their units for their student teaching. It provides a valuable perspective on assessment that treats assessment as something that is for individual students to support the teaching and learning process while providing tools to make it happen.

Dr Nicole Rigelman
Curriculum Instruction Dept, Portland State University
October 21, 2013
Key features
  • Based on current research on mathematics instructional practices
  • Includes reproducibles that teachers can use immediately with their students.
  • Presents strategies that were designed with time management in mind and can be implemented gradually over time or introduced in the classroom step-by-step in a short period of time.
  • Shows how teachers can adapt and differentiate existing lessons from required curricular texts.
  • Organized and presented in a way that is easily and quickly accessible to busy teachers.
  • Includes brief real-life examples drawn from the author's and reviewers' classrooms, as well as many successful experiences from workshop participants.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Forewords by Russell Gersten and Dylan William


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For instructors

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