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Diagnostic Assessment

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Professional knowledge is the foundation of teaching practice.
Members of the Ontario College of Teachers know the curriculum, the subject matter, the student, and teaching practice. It states that
Member of Ontario College of Teachers know
-education-related legislation, methods of communication, and ways to teach in a changing world.
-how to recognize strengths and weaknesses of students.
-how to recognize strengths and weaknesses of students.

Teachers use different diagnostic tests to diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of a student. Without knowing the strengths and weaknesses of a student, the teacher cannot start a lesson. Without testing the prior knowledge of the students, to impart more knowledge does not make sense. Whether any accomodation has to be made  during a lesson or not can only be judged after a diagnosis of the students' strengths and weaknesses is done.

The following two assignments are the diagnostic strategies and diagnostic tests that I would use to test students' learning style and their prior knowledge on a subject before starting a lesson or a unit. 


Diagnostics used for the Summative Task:

Grade 6 Science and Technology (Properties of Air and Characteristics of Flight)

Diagnostics: To test my students if they would be able to meet the expectations set for my final summative task, I would use some of the following strategies to test their prior knowledge, understanding and skills.

Learning style questionnaire

Test the terminology

KWL chart

Word Web (for ex- AIR )

Multiple choice diagnostic tests to test prior knowledge

Oral communication, presentation skills.

1) Students have been already tested for the learning styles at the beginning of the year. They are asked to choose from the project works and then discussed with why they have chosen the particular assignment.

2) To test the terminology, a cloze paragraph is given to the students. This is an independent piece of work that the students complete.

3) Students are asked as a whole class (individual oral questions) about how do they report a scientific investigation. What are the steps to be followed?

4) A class discussion on research ideas using resources like libraries, internet etc. is done.

5) To test the prior knowledge, students write a test. The test contains KWL chart, questions, word web (for ex. AIR- students write in different circles what they know about air), etc. Questions are asked from grade 5 curriculum (Matter and Materials) and some advanced questions (which a few students will answer).

This includes some basic math questions like conversions of units.

6) Students are tested on their knowledge of collecting data and displaying the data through graphs.

These diagnostics will take a double period before starting the unit.

As the summative assignment has choice of activities, it will not need too many accommodations. But students will be provided with accommodations like time, space etc. Students, who choose to design a flying object, may need conferencing with how they are going to present their work. All the students will be free to ask for any resource help from the teacher. Students will have the option of showing the rough copy of their work before proceeding on to the good copy. Students will be aware of the rubric for assessment. Use of proper scientific vocabulary, proper way of using the scientific steps in doing any experiment etc. will carry marks.


Lesson plan to diagnose the Learning Styles

Different students learn differently. A teacher should know her students and try to plan her lessons according to her class. During our course, we had to plan a lesson to diagnose the learning styles of the students. I planned a lesson where the students had to choose an answer from the given questions in a questionaire based on which the learning style of the child was determined. Here is the lesson plan.

Lesson Plan: Module # 1

Grade: Six Time: Two periods of 30 minutes each


Objective: To help a junior learner understand what is his/her learning style.

Expectations: By the end of the lesson the students know all the different types of learning styles. The students would know what their own learning style is.



Brain based strategies to reach every learner (by J. Diane Connell)

Seven Ways of Teaching (David Lazier)

Many websites such as


Survey sheets, Paper, Pencil, Ruler etc.

Structure: Individual, small group


1) Step I: (Prior knowledge): The students are tested on their prior knowledge by asking questions and discussions on what they know about learning styles. Every child is asked individually what they ate for dinner yesterday and how do they remember it. Do they picture it in their minds what they ate, was it the smell of food that they remembered first or was it what mother told is for dinner that occurred first. Students brainstorm and come up with more questions and solutions. Teacher doesn't give any examples at this point but tries to understand how much students know about learning styles or if they know at all what is their own learning style. (10 minutes)

2) Step 2: A discussion on learning styles is done. The 3 types of learning styles are written on board and characteristics of people having different learning styles are mentioned. Auditory Learners (people who learn through listening), Visual Learners (people who learn through seeing), Tactile/Kinaesthetic Learners are people who learn through moving doing or touching. (10 minutes)

3) Step 3: A survey sheet is given to the students to fill up. The instructions are given to the whole class. They are advised to be honest otherwise the results would be wrong. Children work independently. There are 10 questions in the survey sheet with three solutions. The students put a check mark next to the solution which describes them the best. (15 minutes)

The students then add up their points in each category and record their scores.

4) Step 4: (Making Connections): Students connect their survey to the Data Management unit by making a tally chart, writing the frequency of students showing each type of Learning Styles and draw a bar graph. (15 minutes)

Student reflection:

Students are paired and given time to discuss and write 4 questions that they can think of about the activity that they did today. This gives them time to reflect.

(10 minutes)

Follow up: Students are asked to use web search at home or library or school and gather some more information about Learning Styles and write at least 3 sentences about their own type of learning style in a KWL chart where the students add details to each column (a) what I know (before research), (b) what I want to know (c) what I learned. This activity will be due in a week's time.

Evaluation: Students are evaluated on their individual work, contribution of ideas during brainstorming, participation and teamwork during reflection.

Rationale: This lesson is going to help the teachers in many ways.

1) Group work as well as individual thinking is encouraged in the class.

3) Students understand what their learning style is and what can help them the most. Teachers come to know about the learning styles of a majority of the students in a class. That helps the teacher to plan their lesson accordingly.

3) Students learn to make connections. Data management / making bar graphs are covered using a practical example.

How Do You Learn Best

How do you like to learn some thing new?

By listening to my teacher tell about it

By watching my teacher do it first

By doing it myself first

What would you like to do most in your free time indoors?

Read a fun book, comic book, or magazine

Paint, colour, draw, or sketch

Build with Legos or blocks or dance

What would you like to do most on the weekends?

Talk on the phone with my friends or IM friends

Play a musical instrument, do artwork, or listen to music

Play sports

What is the best way for you to remember a telephone number?

Say the numbers out loud over and over as I dial

Picture the numbers in my head

Write all the numbers in the air

What do you like the most when you see a movie?

What the main characters say to each other

The clothes they wear, the scenery, and the special effect

How I feel during the movie ( happy, scared, mad)

When you read a story, which of the following happens?

I think about the meaning of the words

I see pictures in my mind what I am reading

I feel what the characters are feeling

How would you prefer to describe an unusual animal to someone?

Explain the animal in words

Draw a picture of the animal

Use my body to imitate the animal

I understand something best after I

think about it

see it

try it out

One of my favourite ways to spend time is

Listening to music

Playing video games on computer

Going shopping

When I meet someone new I will mostly remember

What he or she said

What he or she was wearing

How she or he acted, or how I felt

Add up all your points in each category, record your scores here

------- a’s (auditory learner)

------- b’s (visual learner)

------- c’s (kinaesthetic/tactile learner)

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Manoshi Chatterjee