Differentiation is a necessary response both to the changing demography of schools and to our understanding of how students learn. But the differentiation of instruction and assessment are often blocked by outdated beliefs regarding fairness. In Redefining Fair, Damian Cooper draws from his extensive experience in the field to answer to the most common questions teachers have about putting differentiation into action, and offers instructional solutions that are comprehensive, practical, clear, and effective.
The book's ten chapters include strategies and examples of assessment methods that will improve student learning and enable all students to realize their potential.
Chapter 1 explains the role of differentiation in ensuring student success as schools set goals of proficiency for all students. Chapter 2 explores the difference between "fairness" and "sameness" and suggests ways to respond to resistance to new assessment methods. Chapter 3 examines the required knowledge and skills included in today's curriculum, addresses the challenges that curriculum overload presents, and suggests strategies for managing and planning a curriculum that focuses on essential skills.
Chapter 4 contains examples of ways to collect data through a variety of preassessments and diagnostic assessments to determine students' needs, readiness to learn, and learning preferences. Chapter 5 examines ways to create a culture of excellence in your classroom by focusing on student understanding rather than outcomes achieved through memorization. Chapter 6 discusses the "mythology of measurement" and the distinction between assessment designed to improve learning through feedback and assessment designed to measure learning through grades.
Chapter 7 focuses on effective instructional practices including differentiation and scaffolding that engage and empower students. Chapter 8 provides examples for designing flexible and responsive differentiated assessments for all students that reflect evidence of essential learning. Chapter 9 explains how and when to use norm-referenced grading, criterion-referenced grading, and self-referenced grading to summarize learning clearly and consistently in the mixed-ability class in a way that avoids the often discouraging effects of standard grading protocols. Chapter 10 examines the different types of information a report card should include to communicate an accurate, succinct, and easily understood summary of learning and behavior to students and parents and includes recommendations for how educators may improve their reporting.
"Damian Cooper writes about differentiated or responsive teaching from three important qualifications. he has done what he asks his readers to do; he has studied the classrooms of many other teachers, so that his sense of classroom reality is broad and deep; and he understands that excellent teaching is not a set of strategies but the determination to do what it takes to make the classroom work those who have little choice but to spend their days in its boundaries. For all those reasons, both Cooper's advice and reasoning are valuable." -- Carol Ann Tomlinson "William Clay Parrish, Jr. Professor in Educational Leadership, Foundations, and Policy, University of Virginia"