How to accommodate differences in prior knowledge between students (MicroLab)

Tuesday 26 Mar 2019, 10:00 - 12:00
Education Lab
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In this MicroLab you will learn how to measure the differences in prior knowledge between your students and how to use these differences in the design of your course and in your teaching.

You will analyze the initial situation of your students, determine the necessary prior knowledge and skills students need to participate in your course and you will develop your own assessment to assess students’ prior knowledge. Next to this, you will learn different teaching and learning activities on how to activate students’ prior knowledge.

This MicroLab has a blended format, which means that you can already prepare online and bring your preparatory assignments to the workshop. There are two short workshops (both two hours) where you will share experiences with other lecturers from different faculties. In between the workshops you will experiment with an assessment technique which you pilot in one of your classes. Therefore, only sign up for this MicroLab when you are currently teaching a module or course.


After following this MicroLab you will be able to:

  • Identify the necessary prior knowledge / entrance level for your course
  • Measure students’ prior knowledge with (classroom) assessments
  • Create appropriate interventions and supporting materials (in the domains of content, process, product and classroom environment) for your students to close the gap in their prior knowledge
  • Use the differences in prior knowledge students have as an asset for your course

Content, form and time investment    

You will start in the online learning environment where you will complete the preparatory assignments (total time spent: 2 to 3 hours). 

In the first workshop we will discuss and evaluate your preparatory assignment. You will receive peer feedback on your assessment and you will review the work of another participant. We will also discuss difficult situations regarding how to deal with differences in students’ prior knowledge. At the end of this workshop you will have an authentic assessment for your course that you can implement.

In the second workshop you will present your experiences about the implementation of your assessment in practice. Have your expectations been met and how did you used this technique to differentiate in students’ learning?

Proof of Competence

The Microlab will be completed with a Proof of Competence which consist of:

  • A description of the entrance level of your course (the minimum cognitive entry behaviors) and how you communicate this prior to your students.
  • A description of your students’ affective entry characteristics when they enter the course.
  • A description of an implemented assessment to measure students’ prior knowledge.
  • An overview of appropriate teaching methods and supporting materials for your students.

You will get a CLI/Risbo certificate, a LinkedIn badge and a HR-registration of completion, when you’ve completed all four parts above.

Signing up for this MicroLab

You can register for this MicroLab by contacting Risbo ( For EUR lecturers there will be no costs in participating in this MicroLab.

Please note that this MicroLab consists of two meetings. The second workshop takes place on Tuesday April 16th 2019 from 10.00-12.00.

More information

MicroLabs are developed by research and training institute Risbo and made possible by the Community for Learning & Innovation. Please visit our page to view the other available MicroLabs.

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