Differentiated Assessment Strategies and Tools

"Effective teachers use ongoing assessment by continuously monitoring progress before, during, and after learning to guide instruction."

-Chapman and King

Here is a list of various tools and strategies to help you plan for differentiated assessment before, during, and after instruction to best meet the needs of your students.

Assessment Before Learning

Preassessments should reveal students' prior knowledge, interests, attitudes, feelings, and entry point for new knowledge.


Teachers record students'

progress, strengths, needs,

and behaviors

Sample Observation Checklist for Kindergarten

Observable Behaviors Checklist and Documentation Log

Blueprint for Preassessment

Response Cards

Cards that are made with

2 or more possible answers

that students can point to

that allow teachers and students

to observe background, feelings,

and misconceptions

Checking for Understanding

Benefits of Response Cards

Knowledge Corners

Determine students' content

knowledge by labeling the 4

corners of the room with phrases

that indicate students' knowledge,

attitudes, and/or interests


Students can voice what they

already know about particular


Brainstorming With Your Kids

Graphic Organizers for Brainstorming

Ideas for Brainstorming

Formal Preassessment

A tool for identifying a student's

needs with a specific topic and can

be compared to the postassessment

Assessment During Learning

Assessments during instruction should excite the learner and assist you in gathering data related to each student's progress in order to plan accordingly to best meet their needs.

Baggie Tools

Provide students with baggies to store their personal assessment tools.

Examples: response cards, sticky notes, self-stick flags, stickers, markers, Popsicle sticks, highlighters, stars, fake fingers, etc.


Model for students how to think and ask questions to engage in self-assessment during any activity.

Examples: This is my thinking.

I will explain the steps for this procedure.

Does this make sense to me?

Color Coding

Students use color codes to identify, organize, and highlight concepts. Materials that can be used are markers, crayons, colored, pencils, construction paper, or colored transparency sheets.

Sketches from the Mind

Students use simple illustrations from a topic to paint a mental image in their mind to help them remember important information.

Example: In a unit on insects, draw a butterfly beside each important fact you find about insects.

Assessment After Learning

Assessment after instruction serve as tools that reveal whether or not the students have achieved their goals and a custom plan can then be formed to best meet their educational needs.

Open-Ended Questioning

All About Open-Ended Questions

Using Bloom's Taxonomy to Create Questions

Examples of Open-Ended Questions to Help Children Think


Student Self-Assessment Checklist Sample

Student Self-Assessment for Behavior Sample


Rubric Builder


Rubric Generator for Specific Concepts

The Rubric Library

Blank Rubric


Strategies for Implementing Journaling

Reflective Journal Writing

Student Self-Assessment Journal Prompts

Self-Assessment and Response Journals


How to Create A Portfolio Assessment

The Portfolio Process

Using Portfolios for Assessment

Portfolio Assessment Guide

Teacher-Created Assessments

Assessment Guidelines