Evidence-Based Practice Library

Differentiation & Inclusion during the Informal Assessment

Teachers use differentiation throughout the Informal Assessment to assess comprehension from the lesson video and include all students. 

The first part of the Informal Assessment asks students to recall the key concept and definition from the lesson video. The Supplemental Materials section of each lesson plan includes differentiated supports to allow all students to be included in the informal assessment. One of the leveled resources is Image Exchange Cards. These cards can be used with students who, rather than speaking the answer, can exchange or point to the corresponding answer card. Each lesson plan also includes Yes/No Cards. Teachers can re-frame questions to be in a yes or no format, rather than open-ended, to give students the opportunity to respond using the Yes/No Cards. The visual supports are designed to help students with limited expressive and receptive language.

In the next part of the Informal Assessment, teachers ask students additional questions from the video, such as "can you view the same website from your home and classroom?" Each lesson plan also includes Image Exchange Cards and Yes/No Cards to support students in answering these additional questions. These differentiated resources are designed to ensure that every student is able to be meaningfully included in the lesson, regardless of their ability level.

Teachers select the most appropriate leveled resource for each individual student based on student needs. The level of differentiated resources may vary from student to student. Not all students in a class may be using the same leveled resources. The differentiated resources should be used to decrease or increase assistance over time based on individual student goals. Selecting an appropriate leveled resource allows the teachers to minimize prompts provided to students and increase independence.

In addition to including all students using the differentiated resources, the teacher should use prompting strategies to ensure that all students are participating and included. During a lesson, a teacher may use any combination of the Five Types of Prompts: Verbal, Gestural, Modeling, Positional and Physical. Prompting should be used to help a student answer a question correctly and/or demonstrate a target behavior.To encourage independence, teachers should use the least amount of prompting necessary for student success. When teaching a new skill, teachers may choose to use errorless learning, or start with more prompts and then fade out prompts once a student begins to show success in acquiring a skill.

Verbal Prompt: Verbal prompts include words, instructions, or questions that direct a student to engage in a target response. This could include a sentence starter, probing questions, or key word reminders. For example, "The internet is a computer network that..."

Gestural Prompt: Gestural prompts include pointing to, looking at, motioning, or nodding to indicate a correct response. An example of this would be a teacher asking "What did the video say the internet is?" and then pointing to the word wall that includes the definition of the internet.

Modeling Prompts: Modeling prompts include an adult or peer acting out a target behavior to encourage the learner to engage in that behavior. An example of this would be a teacher drawing a learner's attention to a peer who is exchanging an Image Exchange Card as a prompt for the learner to also exchange their own Image Exchange Card.

Positional Prompt: Positional prompts involve arranging the physical position of given materials so that the correct item is closest to or in front of the learner. An example of this would include a teacher giving a student multiple Image Exchange Cards to answer a question, but putting the correct answer card up close to the learner and the incorrect card(s) on the opposite side, away from the learner.

Physical Prompt: Physical prompts include actually touching the learner and guiding them through executing a behavior. A partial physical prompt would include just nudging or getting a student started on a task, such as by guiding their hand to the table to select an Image Exchange Card. A full physical prompt would include moving the student through the entire behavior, such as a teacher using hand over hand to have a student select an Image Exchange Card.

As a teacher, it is important to be mindful of the prompts that are provided to students.  It is important to use enough prompts so that students learn the correct skills and behaviors, however, prompts must be balanced enough that students are not developing a prompt dependency.


See a Teacher Using This Practice

In the following video, a Digitability teacher...

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Differentiation & Inclusion: Exit Ticket.

Teachers can increase their use of supplemental materials to include all students in activities. Learn More


Differentiation & Five Types of Prompting: Warm-Up

Teachers use differentiation and prompting to increase expressive and receptive language abilities based on individual student levels. Learn more


Differentiate Reinforcement to Decrease Assistance: Guided Watching

Assistance can be decreased over time to ensure the internalization and generalization of skills. Learn More


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“As we lead our students into a tech-driven future, Digitability moves students closer to their career and life goals.”     

 -Jane Cordero, M. Ed., Secondary Special Education Coordinator at Hill-Freedman World Academy.