Traditional vs. Differentiated Assessment



Traditional vs. Differentiated Assessment

Students are diverse and learn differently. Giving students choices and tailoring assessments according to their needs and preferences are more effective in enhancing their learning and in measuring their knowledge and abilities. Compared to traditional assessment, I believe that differentiated assessment is a better mode in helping students learn best and demonstrate best what they have learned. However, it is still best to combine different types of assessment (e.g., traditional and differentiated) to achieve the best results.

Traditional Assessment (TA) Differentiated Assessment (DA)
TA is most commonly used at the end of instruction; summative; serves as assessment of learning, to check who understood the lesson and who did not. DA continuously occurs before, during and after instruction; formative; serves as assessment for learning, to adjust instruction according to the profiles and needs of the diverse students.
Few assessment options, tools, and activities are provided. Several assessment options, tools, and activities are provided.
TA focuses on a single form of intelligence. DA focuses on multiple forms of intelligence.
Student differences and varied needs are not considered in designing assessment. Student differences and varied needs are analyzed and considered in designing assessment.
Students’ interests and learning preferences are immaterial or rarely tapped. Students’ interests and learning preferences are tapped.
Curriculum guides instruction. Students’ characteristics/profiles and learning needs guide instruction.
Time is definite, not flexible. Time is flexible.
Single material is provided. Various materials are provided.
There is a single interpretation of answers and ideas; one correct answer. There are various interpretations of answers and ideas; varied perspectives, many possible correct answers or many ways to arrive at the correct answer.
The teacher defines criteria for grading and ascribes grades to students. The students participate in self and peer assessments and contribute in crafting assessment criteria.
Students are oftentimes assessed using a single assessment. Students are assessed using multiple assessments, in varied ways.
The teacher directs. The teacher facilitates.
TA tests and enriches the students’ knowledge and comprehension (based on Bloom’s Taxonomy). DA tests and enriches the students’ knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation (based on Bloom’s Taxonomy).


BOSTES. (n.d.). Diffrentiated assessment. Retrieved from

Burrus, Z. & Messer, D. (n.d.). Differentiation and assessment. Retrieved from

Dodge, J. (2009). 25 Quick formative assessments for a differentiated classroom. Retrieved from

Kinzie, C.L. & Markovchick, K (n.d.). Comparing traditional and differentiated classrooms. Retrieved from

Teaching as Leadership. (n.d.) P-4: Differentiate your plans to fit your students. Retrieved from