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Written Curriculum Step 9: Differentiation and Formative Assessment

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

Continuing with the action stage of the unit plan, there are two more sections to consider: formative assessment and differentiation. Let us look at how they may be planned for in our sample unit (MYP1 - perimeter, area and volume).





Formative assessment, or assessment for learning, informs both the student and teacher on the progress made - the teacher gains an insight on what the student understands, acts on it, and the student has the opportunity to improve, with the teacher’s support. (You can read more about formative assessment in this previous blog post.)


  • Weekly homework task will be determined through a self-assessment check. All students need to identify a skill explored that week which they need to develop and continue their learning at home using their online maths accounts.


  • Peer mark formative assessment (squares to stairs). Students will use a smiley face feedback sheet and leave one ‘what went well’ and one ‘even better if’ comment for the individual to respond to before the summative assessment.


  • Prior knowledge quiz at the start of perimeter (lesson 4) and area (lesson 9), as these should have been seen before in PYP. Student’s response will determine if they stay with teacher for instruction, practise through a scaffolded task or work on a collaborative exploration for the duration of the lesson.


  • Classroom discussion - sharing results for students’ calculations of circumference/diameter to reach a value of pi.


  • Exit slip to assess if students can create a triangle with a given area (working backwards/rearranging formulae) to inform the next lesson.


  • In class - verbal feedback to work done in exercise books, written comments left on Google slides when work is done virtually.



Differentiation involves adapting teaching strategies and experiences in response to the different learning needs in the classroom. The adaptation may be in place to scaffold or extend certain students, depending on their understanding. These adjustments may fall within the process, content or product.


  • Pupils are given a vocabulary list to assist with the learning of shape names and properties.


  • Pupils with English as an additional language are supported - translated vocab list with diagrams.


  • Flexible grouping - by interest, ability or learning style


  • Physical manipulatives of 3D shapes when looking at surface area and also the ‘faces, edges, vertices’ learning experience.


  • Choice board for tasks - bronze (approaching standards), silver (meeting standards), gold (exceeding standards).


  • Exemplars of working backwards given a set area, perimeter or volume.


  • Students given a suggested timeline for their summative project over a period of lessons.


  • Students have flexibility in presenting their summative project by hand or digitally.


  • Task specific clarifications on the formative and summative assessments.


  • Extension: surface area and nets of more complex shapes, justifying general rules, application of skills in areas of interest, deriving formulae, drawing diagrams to scale.

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