Curriculum for Diagnostic Teaching

When teachers become skilled at managing the classroom and in providing motivating activities for students, we believe that they should then aspire to reach the next level: diagnostic teaching. In diagnostic teaching, we focus thoughtfully on what students do and do not understand and then adjust accordingly.

We found that mathematics lessons from our texts often were not designed so that the thinking of the students could be seen and analyzed in real time. Therefore, we developed a system to use a single class period to work through an important problem. We used problems that a) could be used to shed light on a math topic we felt was important for the grade level and b) could be solved in a variety of ways ranging from an approach that utilized below grade-level mathematics (such as repeated addition) all the way up to grade-level mathematics (or higher).

Inspired by this work, SERP has continued with development of 12 Poster Problems that implement this approach developed in collaboration with SFUSD.

Please visit SERP's Poster Problem Website with 12 two-day lessons for sixth and seventh grades:

Previous Prototypes of Diagnostic Lessons:

Watch Phil Daro lead a diagnostic lesson with teachers:

SERP has been supported to conduct this work by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

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