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Running Head: LITERATURE REVIEW Page !

Literature Review: Domain B

National University

Nicole Castillo

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for

TED 690 - Capstone Course

Professor Weintraub


In this paper, I will review the article, Differentiating by Offering Choices, by Katie Usher at

Edutopia. I will discuss the importance of allowing students to choose their format of

assessment in order to meet the student’s needs and how integrating technology can help to

increase their engagement during assessment. I will then discuss the relationship between choice

assessments and Domain B: Assessing Student Learning of the California Teaching Performance


Literature Review: Domain B

When assessing students, it is important to keep the needs of your students in mind. Just

as not all students learn the same way, they may not all demonstrate knowledge in the same way.

According to the article, Differentiating by Offering Choices, by Katie Usher at Edutopia,

students perform best when given choice. This idea represents Domain B of the California

Teaching Performance Expectations, “Assessing Student Learning”, by covering “TPE 3:

Interpretation and Use of Assessments” (Commission on Teacher Credentialing, 2016).


This article encourages teachers to allow students to choose the way that they are

assessed. With all of our students having different needs instructionally, it only makes sense that

their assessment would be differentiated just the same. “Differentiation is key because it’s about

giving more opportunities for students to grow to their highest potential, and it is beneficial for

all students” (Usher, 2019). There are many ways that a student can demonstrate knowledge:

slideshow, report, poster, pamphlet, drawing, song, video, etc. The important thing to note is

that, while their form of assessment is different, their criteria is the same. They still need to be

able to demonstrate the same knowledge, via any of the available platforms. In order for this to

be effective, the teacher will need to explain the criteria to students and the avenues that they are

allowed to take in order to demonstrate their knowledge. Once the students know what their

options are, they are free to choose the method that they feel they can best express themselves.

“Giving students a choice allows them to take ownership of their learning as well as create a

product that feels authentic to them” (Usher, 2019). If a student is not creative, but a great

writer, they may choose to write a paper instead of having to create a diorama or poster. If the

opposite is true, and writing is overwhelming for them, they may choose to express their

creativity in one of the other ways that are available. An important thing to include, in this day

and age, is technology. Many students have a genuine interest in technological platforms and

may find that they produce their best and most creative work when given the opportunity to

create a video or slideshow. “Adding a technology component to an assignment can drastically

increase student engagement” (Usher, 2019). In my own class, for example, I have students of

the age where they enjoy watching YouTube videos. I give my students the opportunity to create

videos of themselves sharing out their knowledge, just like some of their favorite YouTube stars

might do. This keeps my students highly engaged and I find that they are more willing to share

details than if they were to have to write about something.

Domain B

The reviewed article meets the expectations of “TPE 3: Interpretation and Use of

Assessments” of “Domain B: Assessing Student Learning” (Commission on Teacher

Credentialing, 2016). As the article suggests, the educator is responsible for understanding their

students in order to assess. They need to “know when and how to use specialized assessments

based on students’ needs.” (Commission on Teacher Credentialing, 2016). This is why it is

important to not only allow choice, but allow choice from activities that meet the needs of

students. The purpose is not for the students to have fun, but to demonstrate their knowledge to

the best of their abilities. Increasing engagement in ways, such as technology integration, allows

for students to share their wealth of information in a way that they may have otherwise felt

threatened by a traditional assessment format.


It is important to note that when grading these assessments, the grades are not based on

the creativity of the student. They still have criteria that needs to be met in order to show what

they know. Based on the results of the student work, the teacher will know if they need to

reteach a unit, or if the students appropriately met the standards assessed. It is for that reason

that the teacher needs to “know how to accurately interpret assessment results of individuals and

groups in order to develop and modify instruction” (Commission on Teacher Credentialing,

2019). When done to meet the assessment needs of students, differentiation can successfully

meet the expectations of Domain B.


Meeting the assessment needs of our diverse populations within a classroom is crucial to

student success. Just as teachers need to differentiate lesson plans when teaching, they may need

to do the same with assessing a student’s knowledge. The article, Differentiating by Offering

Choices, by Katie Usher at Edutopia, addresses the importance of allowing students to have a

variety of assessment formats in which they can express their understanding of a unit. When this

is done, it accurately represents the expectations of “Domain B: Assessing Student Learning”, by

covering “TPE 3:Interpretation and Use of Assessments” (Commission on Teacher Credentialing,



Commission on Teacher Credentialing. (2016, June). California teaching performance

expectations. Retrieved April 12, 2019, from


Usher, K. (2019, April 10). Differentiating by Offering Choices. Retrieved May 5, 2019, from