Differentiated, Personalized Instruction is a Reality with Meaningful Assessment Data

Blog Post created by on Nov 23, 2016

As you read, consider the following question

  • How are you using assessment data to customize learning for students daily?

After you read through the blog, continue the conversation in the comment section below.

Originally posted on Teach.Learn.Grow on April 1, 2015 by Joi Converse


NWEA’s Jean Fleming recently had a guest blog post at Getting Smart – The Future of Personalized Learning is Now – which highlighted how personalized, differentiated instruction using a variety of meaningful assessment data, is making a meaningful impact on student learning.


As Jean notes in her post:


Getting Smart and the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) recently released a report profiling 14 schools across the country breaking through the traditional model of teaching and learning by providing personalized learning experiences that are proven to enhance student learning. The schools profiled are experiencing success in part by setting high expectations for college readiness and tailoring instruction to each student’s individual needs and measuring growth through the use of the Measures of Academic Progress Assessment, or MAP test.


When Jean visited a Teach to One school in Brooklyn a while back, she saw firsthand how a personalized approach to math literally broke down literal and figurative walls, resulting in customized assignments tailored to students on a daily basis. What if you opened up the classroom experience, created a team of teachers and a block of time for different instructional modalities? And what if the data triage needed to personalize instruction were done behind the scenes, so that students could show up, look at their placement for the day, and get to work? That’s the value that can come from meaningful assessment data.


Jean closes her post:


According to a RAND study released in November, personalized learning is advancing academic gains in classrooms. It is the wave of the future when it comes to how teachers will teach and students will learn. And, despite ongoing concerns about testing in schools, it will continue to grow in classrooms throughout the country as educators, administrators, students and parents begin to see the value of targeted learning through the use of meaningful assessment data.


If your district uses MAP like the schools in the study, you already have access to powerful personalized instructional resources linked to student scores from the assessment.


MAP data helps to define individual student learning paths and is directly actionable in a few important ways, and at no added cost:


  • Identify what a student needs help with, or is ready to be challenged on, using the recently enhanced interactive Learning Continuum.
  • Use an individual student’s RIT score in math from MAP to identify standards-aligned instructional resources from Khan Academy.
  • Access the RIT to Resource portal, which is powered by Gooru and enables teachers and parents to find a wealth of standards-aligned Open Educational Resources (OERs).


No matter where your students are performing, assessment information can be a critical tool in pinpointing students’ unique needs, tailoring instruction – and thereby expanding the achievement possibilities for all your students.


About the Author

57.thumbnail.jpgJoi Converse brings passion, creativity and a desire to communicate effectively to her role as the Interactive Marketing Coordinator at NWEA. In what seems like another lifetime, she “herded cats” on various college campuses while also proactively growing her technological skills in SQL, HTML and web content management systems. Joi received her Masters in Higher Education Leadership from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Whitworth University. When not at work, she enjoys exploring the beauty of the Northwest with her family. However, Joi still has not found mountains that can compare to those in her home state of Alaska.