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who may have five classes of 25-30 students per class. Differentiation may be even more challenging as we consider varied learning preferences and needs of culturally and lin- guistically diverse youth. Drawing on their review of a decade of

scaffolding research internationally, van de Pol, Volman, and Beishuizen (2010) conclude, in fact, that scaffolding needs to be contingent upon a specific classroom of learners and their performances, language and needs. The authors note that diagnos- tic tools are needed in order to determine appropriate scaffolds and when they may be most effective and for whom. Although differentiating support for varied learners’ needs remains a great challenge for teach- ers, there are ways teachers can learn about particular students’ needs. One approach some teachers take is gath-

ering and analyzing baseline data to gauge where students are – who is performing at what level on a given instrument. Multiple data sources provide a fuller picture, and more than standardized tests are needed.

Charts and other visual displays of achieve- ment help make patterns evident. Such work can pinpoint where scaffolding is needed and for whom. It also can identify what stu- dents already know and can do better.

Learning from diverse students Too often scaffolding includes problem-

atic assumptions that learners have no cul-

a program with a record of preparing teach- ers to work with diverse learners (Athanases, Wahleithner & Bennett, 2012). Because in- quiries occurred at the end of a supervised credential year, we were not surprised to find that 85 percent demonstrated high challenge activity in action plans and lessons, and 95 percent included scaffolds that facilitated engagement with high-level curriculum. However, only 36 percent included evi-

tural or linguistic resources to tap, that they are not individuals with agency (Dyson, 1999). My research team at UC Davis ex- amined data of 80 ELA preservice teacher inquiries conducted over a six-year period in

dence of culturally relevant pedagogy (Lad- son-Billings, 1995), tapping diverse stu- dents’ out-of-school experiences or cultural resources. When they did so, they tapped students’ knowledge and experiences in scaffolding. Several teachers in EL-only classes with recent immigrants, for exam- ple, found ways to use students’ immigra- tion stories as material for use in learning how to write autobiographical narratives for district assessments, how to use authentic dialogue and descriptive details, and how to write comparison/contrast papers about living in different nations. Diversity of learners calls for varied

20 Leadership

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