Tiered Assignments/Activities a strategy for differentiating instruction that provides for the use of varied levels of activities to ensure that students explore ideas at a level that builds on their prior knowledge and prompts continued growth. Tiered assignments are intended to provide a better instructional match between students and their individual needs. (Heacox, p. 91)
Why use Tiered Assignments? Blends assessment and instruction Allows students to begin learning where they are Allows students to work with appropriately challenging tasks Allows for reinforcement or extension of concepts and principles based on student readiness Allows modification of working conditions based on learning style Avoids work that is anxiety-producing or boredom-producing Promotes success and is therefore motivating
Tiered Instruction Features Whole group introduction and initial instruction Identification of developmental differences Increase or decrease the: Abstraction Extent of Support Sophistication Complexity of goals, resources, activities & products
6 Ways to Structure Tiered Assignments From Diane Heacox
1. Tier by challenge level Use Bloom’s taxonomy as a guide for creating levels Example: elementary science Application level: After reviewing the information about frogs and toads from the Department of Natural Resources, record the characteristics of each on a chart. Analysis level: After reviewing the information about frogs and toads from the Department of Natural Resources, create a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting these two amphibians
Challenge Level Example Middle School – advertising & propaganda Application level: Review the ads in a teen magazine. Identify each by the propaganda technique (bandwagon, testimonial, or slogan) and make a collage or poster illustrating the techniques you find. Analysis/Evaluation level: Review the ads in a teen magazine. Examine the characteristics of the “ideal” teen girl and guy portrayed in the ads. Create a collage or poster to share your conclusions about advertising’s portrayal of “ideal” teens.
2. Tier by Complexity Address needs of students who are at introductory levels as well as those who are ready for more abstract, analytical work Task can be similar, but focus differs.
Complexity Example Example: Rainforests Least complex: Create an informational brochure that will inform your classmates about an environmental issue related to rainforests. More complex: Create an informational brochure that will inform your classmates of different points of view about an environmental issue related to rainforests. Most complex: Create an informational brochure that presents various positions on the environmental issue related to rainforests. Determine your position on the issue and present a convincing argument for it in your brochure.
3. Tier by Resources Choose materials at various reading levels and complexity of content Use various types of print resources or a combination of print & technological resources The task presented to the students may be the same or may be tiered additionally
4. Tier by Outcome Offer some students the opportunity to work at a more in-depth, sophisticated level Example: “I Have a Dream Speech” Basis task: Think about Dr. King’s dream for social justice, as presented in his speech. Create a visual representation of his ideas. Advanced task: Think about the USA today. What other dreams of social justice to you believe have surfaced in response to new issues and concerns? Create a visual representation of your ideas.
5. Tier by Process Students work on similar outcomes, but arrive by different pathways Concern here: make sure various pathways take the same amount of time
Process Example Making Buying Decisions Basic task: Choose a product (for example, a DVD player) and review consumer information about it in publications such as consumer magazines. Identify relevant criteria for deciding what you should look for when purchasing the product. Advanced Task: Choose a product (for example, a DVD player) and interview at least 3 people who have bought it. Identify the criteria these people used in making their decision to buy.
6. Tier by Product Groups are formed based on learning preference (i.e. Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences or learning styles) Differentiate assignments based on product to be created.
Product Example Bodily/Kinesthetic: Share the characteristics of effective leaders through a videotaped “Meeting of the Minds” skit, featuring characters from historical fiction the represent various leadership traits. Visual/Spatial: Share the characteristics of effective leaders by constructing bulletin board displays that illustrate the leadership traits from characters from historical fiction
Developing a Tiered Assignment Select the activity objective/standard Concept Generalization Factual content Select the activity objective/standard Concept Generalization Factual content Essential to building a framework of understanding Step 1
Developing a Tiered Assignment Step 2 Think about your students -- use assessments readiness range skills reading level thinking style/level information/background interests learning profile talents
Developing a Tiered Assignment Step 3 Create an activity that: is interesting is high level causes students to use key skill(s) to understand a key idea
Developing a Tiered Assignment Step 4 Chart the complexity of the activity High skill/ Complexity Low skill/ complexity
Developing a Tiered Assignment Step 5 Clone the activity along the ladder as needed to ensure challenge and success for your students, in…. materials – basic to advanced form of expression – from familiar to unfamiliar from personal experience to removed from personal experience
Hints….. If you wish to make the tiering more invisible, make the activities at varying levels look as similar as possible Start by creating the mid-level activity, then create a more challenging and a less challenging variation Use “workcards” or Task Cards as a handy way to provide directions for each group (laminate so they last!)
Hints….. Think scaffolding: How much additional support and assistance does the lower group need? How independently can the upper group work? Find a teacher-partner & work together!
Developing a Tiered Assignment Step 6 Match task to student based on student profile and task requirements Keep some record of which students receive which activity (color code grade book, etc.)
Organizing the Grouping 1. Just list names & groups on the board 2. Assign students to centers or activity by color codes 3. Use stickers on Task Cards 4. Use a pocket chart Use index cards with each student's name Place in the appropriate row
Making Tiering Invisible Introduce each activity with equal enthusiasm Describe activities in random order Work should be DIFFERENT not more or less; be fair in expectations Groups should be equally active Activities should be equally interesting & engaging Require the use of key concepts, skills, or ideas
Sample Tiered Math Problems Probability Task 1 It’s early Monday morning and your mother has laid out the following clothing items for you to choose from: a red shirt, a blue shirt, a white shirt, blue jeans, and khaki pants. How many different outfits can you make with the clothes your mother has provided? Task 2 You are making cupcakes for a class celebration. Your classmates have indicated that they would like a choice of different cupcakes. You have: chocolate and yellow cake batter; strawberry, white, and caramel icing; and green and blue sprinkles. How many different types of cupcakes can you offer your classmates? Task 3 You are trying to determine your schedule for next year at Leonard Middle School. First period, you can take art, chorus, or band. Second period, you can take technology or creative writing or be an office assistant. Third period, you can take a foreign language: German, Spanish, French, or Latin. Figure out how many different schedules are possible based on these options.
Middle School Unit: Dinosaurs Objective: Content + Process + Process In their study of dinosaurs, the students will be able to research and identify various theories of dinosaur extinction. Task 1 - After researching and identifying various theories of dinosaur extinction, students will be able to create their own theory and draw a picture or diagram illustrating that theory. Task 2 - After researching and identifying various theories of dinosaur extinction, students will be able to create a visual representation of their theory (i.e. diorama, timeline, or three dimensional model). Task 3 - After researching and identifying various theories of dinosaur extinction, students will be able to create a visual representation of their theory and defend their theory during a class debate.
References Rindone, Nancy. A Mini-Guide to Differentiation. Carroll Independent School District. 2003-2004. www.southlakecarroll.edu/CISD%20Mini%20guide.pptwww.southlakecarroll.edu/CISD%20Mini%20guide.ppt Smith, Nanci. Differentiating Instruction: Beginning the Journey. www.wi-rsn.org/pd/files/ Differentiated%20Instruction%20intro.ppt www.wi-rsn.org/pd/files/ Differentiated%20Instruction%20intro.ppt Reaching all Children in the Classroom: An Overview of Differentiation Strategies. web.ics.purdue.edu/~rlmann/ Differentiation.Bloomfield.ppt Mann, Rebecca. Reaching all Children in the Classroom: An Overview of Differentiation Strategies. web.ics.purdue.edu/~rlmann/ Differentiation.Bloomfield.ppt web.ics.purdue.edu/~rlmann/ Differentiation.Bloomfield.ppt web.ics.purdue.edu/~rlmann/ Differentiation.Bloomfield.ppt Williams, Eulouise. Differentiation of Instruction. Powerpoint, 2003. Tomlinson, Carol Ann. How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classroom. Cubing/Think Dots Cubing/Think Dots boe.ming.k12.wv.us/teachers/di/di_docs/strategies_cubing_think_dots/CubingThin kdotpp.ppt Differentiation Tools For Your Classroom. bonfire.learnnc.org/ncmtec2/DPI_NCsite/ Lessons%20files/Differentiation.ppt Heacox, Diane. Differentiating Instruction in the Regular Classroom. Free Spirit Publishing, 2002.
Guidelines for Success….. Task must focus on key concept or generalization essential to the study Use a variety of resource materials at differing levels of complexity as well as different learning modes Adjust the task by complexity, abstractness, number of steps, concreteness, and independence to ensure appropriate challenge Make sure there are clear criteria for quality and success