OER4Schools/activities/Differentiation by outcome

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Differentiation by outcome occurs when students do the same task but they respond differently, reach different levels and produce a variety of results. The task needs to be open-ended for this to work; it should allow learners to explore and be original. It can be done with ICT or without but it needs a clear time frame. For example:

  • collaborate to write a story or a report (using Etherpad)
  • create a piece of art with the title “new beginning”
  • investigate how plants grow

One way to allow students to access work at their level and ensure that students produce results is to assign 'must, should, could' criterion for success along with learning objectives. So, if we consider the example of 'collaborate to write a story or a report (using Etherpad)', the differentiated success criteria might be:

  • all students MUST give their work a clear title and write one paragraph consisting of 5 correctly formed sentences
  • some students SHOULD make sure to use powerful verbs in their writing
  • a few students COULD use direct speech to make their piece more interesting

Teachers should emphasis that they want students to progress and be challenged appropriately so that no students stops working once they have achieved the minimum criterion for success.

In summary:

  • Set clear expectations of appropriate kinds of outcomes (consider using MUST, SHOULD, COULD)
  • Challenge and support students to reach the highest level they possibly can (consider using Traffic Lights with students so that they can indicate how they are finding the work)