Formative Assessment and Tiered Learning in a Spanish Language Classroom

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How can formative assessment and tiered instruction work together to increase student achievement? What challenges do you see getting in the way? What are the opportunities? As foreign language teachers, we cannot be afraid of formative assessment or tiered learning methods. According to one of the fundamentals of tiered learning, flexible grouping can be an asset and an overall goal for building skills and lifelong learning habits for the future (Carol Ann Tomlinson, professor at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia). The assessment of a foreign language classroom is different from Math or Science in that the answers may differ and vary. The quality that foreign language teachers look for in the final product is more important that the quantity. With careful planning and clear rubrics, formative assessment and tiered learning can be combined in a foreign language classroom. The final product should display the quality and variety that all languages and cultures provide. Although many teachers shy away from tiered learning, foreign language can apply these techniques in an easily deciphered method. To answer the question of how formative assessment and tiered instruction can work together to increase student achievement, I have found that one of my present classes is practicing a combination that, albeit rudimentary for my first year teaching at an American high school, has been successful. As briefly as possible, I will explain the process that my Spanish II class (a mix of IEP’s, 504’s and a few high achievers) has been using, and how this process has set the stage for a clear example of the achievement desired in the modern day classroom. The first stage is to provide content for learning about the topic. In my class we have been reading a second year mystery novel that takes place at Mayan ruins. The class started to gain knowledge

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