Daily Differentiation in the Classroom – Find The Students Who Need More

Differentiation for the classroom - how to find students who need more help, and how to help them.Differentiation in the classroom is one of the best ways to meet students where they are, and move them forward. But how do you find which students need re-teaching, or just a bit of extra practice, or are ready for something more?

Daily monitoring of student progress is so important – but it does not have to be hard, or take a long time!  This simple and fast method lets Google Forms do all the work!


First, create a Google Form with just a handful of multiple choice questions focused on a particular learning objective. Aim for between six to eight questions.

You want it to be focused on just one objective, or even part of one objective. You need to know exactly what skill or knowledge your students know, or don’t know. So they questions need to be focused.

Six to eight questions is the sweet spot. If there are too few, missing just one will make too big an impact on their grade (which is what you are going to use to differentiate).

Too many questions will take your students too long. You want it to take less than five minutes for them to complete. Plus, more questions will not really give you any additional data.

If your questions are focused enough on a single objective, your students will either know it, or they wont. Students take the assessment, Google Forms grades it, you collect the data.

Not sure how to make a Google Form? Check out this awesome tutorial from Surfing to Success!

Take a look at your students’ scores by clicking the ‘responses’ tab.

From the 'Response' summary page, click the green box near the top right for a Google Spreadsheet of your class data.
From the ‘Response’ summary page, click the green box near the top right for a Google Spreadsheet of your class data.

Then click the little green box at the top right. This will open a Google Spreadsheet of your data. This is where the Differentiation magic is!

Right click on the ‘score’ column and select ‘sort sheet A-Z’. This will put your scores in order from lowest to highest.

Right click the 'Score' column and choose "Sort sheet A-Z" to arrange in order from lowest to highest score.
Right click the ‘Score’ column and choose “Sort sheet A-Z” to arrange in order from lowest to highest score.

Now you can very quickly see who in your class needs re-teaching.  (My students are blacked out below for their privacy).

Easily see which students need re-teaching and which are ready for further learning.
Easily see which students need re-teaching and which are ready for further learning.

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Now What??

Now you make Differentiation happen! There are a lot of ways this can look, but here here is one way that works-

Copy the names from the Google Sheet in groups according to what they need. Paste the names into a Google Doc with a different assignment for each group.

Have a short enrichment assignment for the students who did very well. This could be in the form of a fun, related video clip or article with associated questions. It could be something they create, like writing a short story or making an infographic.

This group can also work together to make a Kahoot or Quizizz for the rest of the class to play, or they can make a skit to act out about the topic.

For the group that scored in the middle range, they likely just need a bit of extra practice. Consider asking them to re-take the same question set as the original assessment, but allowing them to with a partner and use their notes.

For an extra level of accountability, make a copy of your original Google Form (or create a new one) and add ‘file upload’ under each multiple choice question. Challenge your students to take a picture of the answer in their notes and upload it to the form.

**Teaching Tip!**  Be sure the answer IS in their notes! I have definitely made this mistake…more than once. 

And you can work with the group that needs the most help. There should only be a handful of students in this group. If more than a few did poorly on the assessment, consider re-teaching the whole class!

How you help this group depends a lot on the learning objective – but be sure you are teaching the in a different way than you taught them already. They didn’t understand it that why, so why repeat yourself?

Use manipulative, models, something hands-on. I am always tempted to just model the skill or do it for them, especially if there is  a time crunch (isn’t there always a time crunch?).

Doing this will just waste that valuable time. Let them practice explaining the concept, or doing the skill, and coach them as they go. 

This differentiation time should not take long – I try to aim for twenty minutes. Then we are ready to come back together for more learning.

I don’t do this every day, but maybe twice a week. Here is an exampl

e of what my students would access in order to get into groups and start working. The Google Doc itself I make up ahead of time, so all I have to do is drop

in the names based on their assessment scores.

Seven New Ways to use Google Forms in the Classroom
Click to read!


The only thing left to do is project a QR code or tiny url on the board, and they are off and running!

In love with Google Forms? (I am!) Check out these new ways to use Google Forms in the classroom!

Looking for more ways to use technology in the classroom? Here are my three favorite online tools – so simple you can learn how to use all three in less than fifteen minutes!

What does differentiation in the classroom look like for you? Let us know in the comments – we all learn from each other!

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Differentiation in the classroom (1)


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