Ensure a meaningful introductory CS learning experience for each student by creating differentiated expansions for assignments while providing the same starting points.

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Goal:
  • Create meaningful experiences in computer science for every child by adding different levels of assessments. This allows you to tailor the learning environment to meet the varying needs of the diverse set of students in your class without relying on differentiated instruction, which is expensive and potentially harmful.
    • To help discover varying needs for meaningful experiences, focus on the student population, the academic content, and engagement with the curriculum.
Reason:
  • Pedagogical approaches and assessment metrics that are tailored to fit the specific needs of the student population bring authentic experiences to everyone.
    • Assume that students have had no prior experience with computer science in an introductory course. You can provide additional expansions for students who move through material quickly, which may or may not be a reflection of prior experience.
Action:
  • Use the same instruction for all students so that they all have the same "entry points" for assignments.
    • This starts everyone on a level playing field and alleviates feelings that some don’t belong or that others already know more.
  • Differentiate levels of assessments that align with levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy for each assignment expansion.
    • Students can increase their grade for an assignment as they demonstrate deeper mastery of the content.
    • Suggestion: Give basic guidelines for a project to allow opportunities for customization plus add on bonus levels or additional challenges to differentiate the assignment and motivate students to advance their skills.