Every educational movement needs a catchy new acronym. ABIL will have to do: Assessment-based Individualized Learning. Simply put, it’s the supplemental instruction students need to catch up while they keep up with grade-level instruction.
What It’s Not
- ABIL is nothing new. Teachers have been doing it forever.
- It’s not about creating individual educational plans for every student.
- It’s not a replacement for rigorous Standards-based, grade-level instruction.
- It’s not funky differentiated instruction.
- It’s not one teaching methodology: small groups, lit circles, writers workshop, learning centers, etc.
- Impossible or unmanageable.
What It Is
- Foundational content, concepts, and skills that every student needs to access rigorous Standards-based, grade-level instruction.
- Reliable and valid diagnostic assessments to determine individual student mastery and deficits in those prerequisites. Assessments which are comprehensive and teachable–not random samples. For example, what reading and English-language arts teacher cares about learning that Johnny has some sight word deficits? Good teachers want to know precisely which sight words Johnny kn0ws and does not know to be able to efficiently teach to Johnny’s specific needs.
- Reading assessments: upper and lower case alphabet, syllable awareness, syllable rhyming, phonemic isolation, phonemic blending, phonemic segmenting, outlaw words, rimes, sight syllables, word recognition level, short vowel sound-spellings, long vowel sound-spellings, vowel digraph sound-spellings, vowel diphthong sound-spellings, silent final e, consonant sound-spellings, consonant blend sound-spellings, consonant digraph sound-spellings. Reading fluency level, word recognition level, instructional reading level.
- Previous grade-level spelling assessment: Every spelling pattern and conventional spelling rule.
- Previous grade-level grammar, usage, and mechanics assessments.
- Curriculum which directly corresponds to each assessment item with progress monitoring matrices to ensure student mastery and is conducive to concurrent instruction in grade-level Standards.
- The key ingredient of RtI (Response to Intervention) besides quality, accessible grade-level instruction.
- What special ed and ELD students need most.
- How you would want your own child taught with rigorous grade-level instruction and individualized learning to remediate any relative weaknesses.
The author of this article, Mark Pennington, provides assessments and curricular resources to implement Assessment-based Individualized Learning. Want to check out the curriculum? Click here. Want to download the assessments, answers, and recording matrices described above for your students?