Pre-Assessment for Differentiation

As a teacher, we are aware of the importance of monitoring you students and checking the concepts they understand along with filling the gaps of what they don’t understand.  In this current module, I have been researching about pre-assessments and creating pre-assessments for differentiation.  

These are all part of the education process.  These assessments will test the prior knowledge of the subject lesson.  As a result, the teacher will be able to create strategies to guide the students for topics or content they are not sure about such as grouping students with limited or no prior knowledge with those with a good amount of prior knowledge.  Here is a screenshot of an example of a pre-assessment I’ve created on Kahoot.


Differentiation following Pre-assessments
In the flow chart below, I have demonstrated strategies for different prior knowledge students nased on the outcomes of the pre-assessment. 


5 students who answered most, including the most difficult, of the pre-assessment questions correctly:

This group of students have shown mastery on the pre-assessment and has demonstrated a solid background of their understanding of the Solar System and science vocabulary.  I will aim to encourage these students to push their thinking during the introduction lesson by using the website from NASA science. Students will break into smaller groups and use the laptops to look through a collection of interactive information they can research to prepare some facts about the planets and objects in our Solar System.

Following this activity, these students will complete an exit ticket that asks them to write a paragraph on what is unique about Earth when compared to other planets in our Solar System.

12 students who have some knowledge about the topic as shown in their score, but need to develop higher order thinking skills:

This group is perhaps secure in the content but may need a little more practice in higher order thinking skills. These students will break into groups of 3 and can read a one-page summary about the planets in our Solar System.  On the back of the summary, they will match and label facts stated in the summary to match with the planets and other objects in our Solar System. For groups that need more of an academic challenge, students will be asked to explore the interactive game of the Solar System on the NASA website.

Following the activity, these students will complete an exit ticket that asks them to write about what are the differences between Earth and other planets in the Solar System.

5 students who appear to have limited knowledge about the topic:

This group has displayed how they have limited knowledge about the Solar System and the vocabulary in English. They will benefit from an introduction to the Solar System and the science vocabulary. With all my students being ELL students, it’s also possible they understand the Thai vocabulary for the Solar System but not in English.  Students will first watch a 5-minute movie that introduces the Solar System with little facts about each planet etc. They will work together to write a list of vocabulary words they heard or saw and match it to the Thai word they know already.  The Thai Science teacher can also assist in verifying the vocabulary.

Following this activity, these students will complete an exit ticket that asks them to identify 3 new things they learned about the Solar System and 1 question about what they didn’t understand.


Throughout the unit, I will monitor student pro
gress to make sure the differentiation is effective and personalised for the student’s needs.  When the students have completed this unit, they should be able to recognise the science terminology in English in relation to the Schools standards.  These standards are based on the Basic Core Education of Thailand along with SMART goals and key competencies.

Strand 7: Astronomy and Space
Standard Sc7.1: Understanding of evolution of the solar system.

The students will be able to search for relevant information and explain relationships between the Sun, Earth, the moon and other planets, and the effects on the environment and living things on Earth.

I will pre-assess through exit slips written in their notebooks, turn and talks, informal checks for understanding, and Do Now activities.   I will also encourage students to take part in Flipped classrooms by observing videos or exploring websites given on the school Science Facebook page.  They can then take part in their multiple choice review on a google form.  The results are checked and sent to my e-mail and I can check which student may need additional support.

If I feel student growth is not evident, then I will reteach, offer supplemental worksheets, or try a new different approach.  I will ensure on how students will opportunities to gain the skills necessary for the unit and to create an on-going list of discoveries and learnings in their notebooks. This will be helpful for students in all 3 categories to document their growth.


Carnegie Mellon University. (2015). Assessing Prior Knowledge. Retrieved from

Kahoot. (2017, January). Kahoot. Retrieved from

Pendergrass, E. (2014, January). Differentiation: It Starts with Pre-Assessment. Retrieved from

SAS. (n.d). Differentiation & LR Information for SAS Teachers. Retrieved from 5. Pre-assessment Ideas:

WKU. (2017). RTWS Exemplars. Retrieved from


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