Sunday, November 11, 2012

Differentiation In The Math Classroom.

This weeks topic is differentiation in the math classroom.  I can honestly say this is one area that I struggle with and am really hoping for some great ideas from others.  This year I teach 3 honors sections and 2 regular sections.  I find that my honors students are almost all at the same level and even when I challenge them, all of the students really put forth a great effort to try and solve the problem.

I am really wanting to implement more differentiated instruction in my regular classes.  I have such a wide range of students in there that I feel like I am missing some of them sometimes.  I have to do a lot more direct instruction with them, so I struggle with having them break into smaller groups to do certain activities that are relative to their ability level.

One thing our district is doing this year is all students in the middle school are taking the CDT test - if you have never heard of this it is Classroom Diagnostic Tools.  It is a computer adaptive test that is about 60 questions long.  Students can take this up to 5 times per school year.  Once students take the test, it will show me a graphing of how the student performed overall, and then in each of the five strands.  Each dot represents a student.  Clicking on one of the dots shows me how a particular student did in each of the areas.  Now how does this relate to differentiating...well you can draw a box around a cluster of dots in one of the areas and then select show eligible content.  This will show you all of the standards that related to how these students performed and then take you out to SAS which has many lesson plans and online resources.  So if you need to get extra items for those low scoring students, you could.  If you needed to get enrichment items for those high achieving students, you could.  The one downfall is students don't have access to go get these resources on their own - the teacher would need to give them the links or materials.

Has anyone else used CDT in their classroom - I would love to hear from you since I am the test coordinator at my school and am always looking for how other schools use CDT!


  1. CDT sounds like a nice tool to help you find groups of students who can work together.

    I tend to do a lot more direct instruction this year than I would like. I have a bunch of 7th graders who have trouble following instructions, don't get along with other kids, or who are simply disruptive. I still do small group and flexible group activities, but mostly for practice rather than instruction because that's the only way I've figured out how to make it work for this group of kids.

    One of the other math teachers has commented multiple times that this is the least-prepared group of 7th graders he's ever seen, so it might be that the behavior difficulties I'm seeing are attempts at avoiding something that's hard.

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