When used with purpose, assessments can be powerful tools to help educators use data to understand how students learn and design learning experiences to meet their needs.

This focus area provides educators with the skills needed to formatively assess student learning, develop checks for understanding, use student data to inform instruction, and help students understand their academic progress.

Focus Area

Formative Assessment and Differentiation

Components of Formative Assessment and Differentiation

Effective student assessment provides critical data to guide differentiated instruction and is an integral part of the learning process. We support skill development through personalized pathways built from workshops1:1 coaching, and learning walks to achieve clear outcomes.

Authentic Assessment

Outcome: I can implement authentic assessments in order to motivate students, offer formative feedback, and evaluate student progress as part of the learning process.

Checks for Understanding

Outcome: I design varied checks for understanding that provide insight into my students’ comprehension.

Designing Student-Centered Assessment

Outcome: I design student-centered assessments that support students to demonstrate their learning.

Creating a Culture of Feedback

Outcome: I create and refine systems of student-centered feedback in my classroom that support students to take ownership of their learning.

Tracking Progress with Data

Outcome: I create systems in which my students and I collaboratively use data to track academic progress.

Differentiation with Grouping

Outcome: I design differentiated learning experiences by using strategic student grouping.

“Great job in presenting the information in an interesting, insightful, and fluid way.”

“Sierra is a GREAT facilitator: patient, empathetic. knowledgeable—she models all the traits we need/try to model for our students!”

“Excellent workshop. Thank you for all of the specific examples of assessment that I can try right away.”

Learning Strategies From Our Library

Building a Data Dive Routine

Help teachers schedule and structure a simple whole-class data dive routine during which all students can be celebrated for their progress while also receiving constructive feedback.

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System of Assessments to Demonstrate Mastery

Give students access to a Mastery Map and create opportunities for them to practice skills at their own pace.

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Analyzing Student Data to Inform Instruction

Provide structure to create user-friendly data sets and student action plans to put student data to good use.

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A Focus on Student-Centered Teaching and Learning

We’ve identified four Elements that are key for academic success and for building student-centered classrooms. BetterLesson guides teachers, instructional coaches, and leaders through Focus Areas within each Element to lead their professional development journey.

Instructional Leadership Arrow

Instructional Leadership Focus Areas

Improve instruction and learning for teachers and students by building your skills as an instructional leader.

Leading Through Change: Lead the improvement of teaching, learning, and overall school climate to enhance student achievement and success.
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Instructional Coaching: Provide teachers with personalized coaching cycles that support them growing and developing their teaching practice. Learn More
Collaborative Professional Learning: Develop a collaborative professional culture to support student-centered teaching and learning. Learn More
Feedback and Observation: Create an authentic, replicable observation and feedback cycle that promotes alignment of student-centered goals and non-evaluative conversation.
Learn More
Inclusive and Responsive Practices Arrow

Inclusive and Responsive Practices Focus Areas

Build an equitable learning community where all students can be supported, celebrated, and successful.

Social-Emotional Learning: Prepare students with the self-awareness, relational, and decision-making skills they need to succeed in school and in life. Learn More
Culturally Responsive Teaching: Develop learning communities that honor diverse student backgrounds and experiences. Learn More
Trauma-Informed Practices: Approach learning with an understanding of the impacts of trauma and adversity on students. Learn More
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Create inclusive educational ecosystems by examining structures, systems, and beliefs informed by race and identity. Learn More
English Learners: Support all English Learners to grow and thrive in their learning environments. Learn More
Students with Disabilities: Support students with disabilities to learn and grow in their learning environments. Learn More
Flexible Instructional Models Arrow

Flexible Instructional Models Focus Areas

Find unique ways for all students to learn, communicate, and solve meaningful problems.

Accelerating Growth: Accelerate student growth and provide differentiated support for all learners. Learn More
Formative Assessment and Differentiation: Provide students with multiple opportunities to demonstrate their understanding, track their progress, and guide their future learning.
Learn More
Blended Learning: Leverage technology in the classroom to maximize student learning and growth. Learn More
Hybrid and Virtual Learning: Deliver equitable, engaging, and student-centered instruction and create supportive learning communities in a remote or hybrid model. Learn More
Project-Based Learning: Engage students with real-world, inquiry-based tasks.
Learn More
Competency-Based Learning: Create personalized learning paths that allow students to progress toward goals and demonstrate competency in flexible formats. Learn More
Curriculum and Academic Content Arrow

Curriculum and Academic Content Focus Areas

Use learning tools and curriculum to create a student-centered classroom.

Student-Centered Math: Create transformative mathematics classrooms where students engage in problem-solving, discourse, application, and critical thinking. Learn More
Student-Centered Literacy: Develop students’ literacy skills by supporting student ownership of evidence-based reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Learn More
Open Up Resources 6-8 Math: Strategically implement the Open Up Resources 6-8 Math curriculum. Learn More
EL Education: Strategically implement the EL Education K-8 Language Arts curriculum to support student-centered literacy instruction. Learn More
Newsela: Supercharge reading engagement and infuse literacy skills across content areas using Newsela. Learn More
Labster: Support student engagement in authentic investigative science lab simulations using Labster.
Learn More
Derivita: Cultivate targeted, responsive math practices using Derivita’s question and feedback tools. Learn More

Instructional Leadership Focus Areas

Improve instruction and learning for teachers and students by building your skills as an instructional leader.

Leading Through Change: Lead the improvement of teaching, learning, and overall school climate to enhance student achievement and success.
Learn More
Instructional Coaching: Provide teachers with personalized coaching cycles that support them growing and developing their teaching practice. Learn More
Collaborative Professional Learning: Develop a collaborative professional culture to support student-centered teaching and learning. Learn More
Feedback and Observation: Create an authentic, replicable observation and feedback cycle that promotes alignment of student-centered goals and non-evaluative conversation.
Learn More

Inclusive and Responsive Practices Focus Areas

Build an equitable learning community where all students can be supported, celebrated, and successful.

Social-Emotional Learning: Prepare students with the self-awareness, relational, and decision-making skills they need to succeed in school and in life. Learn More
Culturally Responsive Teaching: Develop learning communities that honor diverse student backgrounds and experiences. Learn More
Trauma-Informed Practices: Approach learning with an understanding of the impacts of trauma and adversity on students. Learn More
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Create inclusive educational ecosystems by examining structures, systems, and beliefs informed by race and identity. Learn More
English Learners: Support all English Learners to grow and thrive in their learning environments. Learn More
Students with Disabilities: Support students with disabilities to learn and grow in their learning environments. Learn More

Flexible Instructional Models Focus Areas

Find unique ways for all students to learn, communicate, and solve meaningful problems.

Accelerating Growth: Accelerate student growth and provide differentiated support for all learners. Learn More
Formative Assessment and Differentiation: Provide students with multiple opportunities to demonstrate their understanding, track their progress, and guide their future learning.
Learn More
Blended Learning: Leverage technology in the classroom to maximize student learning and growth. Learn More
Hybrid and Virtual Learning: Deliver equitable, engaging, and student-centered instruction and create supportive learning communities in a remote or hybrid model. Learn More
Project-Based Learning: Engage students with real-world, inquiry-based tasks.
Learn More
Competency-Based Learning: Create personalized learning paths that allow students to progress toward goals and demonstrate competency in flexible formats. Learn More

Curriculum and Academic Content Focus Areas

Use learning tools and curriculum to create a student-centered classroom.

Student-Centered Math: Create transformative mathematics classrooms where students engage in problem-solving, discourse, application, and critical thinking. Learn More
Student-Centered Literacy: Develop students’ literacy skills by supporting student ownership of evidence-based reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Learn More
Open Up Resources 6-8 Math: Strategically implement the Open Up Resources 6-8 Math curriculum. Learn More
EL Education: Strategically implement the EL Education K-8 Language Arts curriculum to support student-centered literacy instruction. Learn More
Newsela: Supercharge reading engagement and infuse literacy skills across content areas using Newsela. Learn More
Labster: Support student engagement in authentic investigative science lab simulations using Labster.
Learn More
Derivita: Cultivate targeted, responsive math practices using Derivita’s question and feedback tools. Learn More

Let’s Connect

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