Diagnostic Learning Environment
In a diagnostic learning environment the teacher respects and attends to the development of the individual learner’s thinking and understanding. Formative assessment is at the core, providing ongoing data to inform instructional decision-making. Students are made aware of their initial ideas and monitor their thinking over time.
Many teachers might say they assess all the time. But typically this means they identify whether the student has the "right" idea, and if not the instruction presents more of the right idea. We mean something different here. In a diagnostic learning environment, teachers go beyond assessing to see if their students are “getting it.”
On the left side of the table in the attachment link below, we describe the essential components of a diagnostic learning environment. We also describe the traits teachers, students and tools that are requirements for the implementation of a Diagnostic Learning Environment. While there is a lot of detail in each of the traits, the over-arching goal is to describe what we think are prerequisites of the teacher, instructional materials, and classroom culture to create a student-centered and assessment-centered and knowledge-centered classroom as described in How People Learn (Bransford, Brown et al. 1999).