Many articles have been written on the merits of differentiation. Most are based on the assumption teachers can identify the learning needs of students based on the results of a test. To do this the teacher sorts the students, based on their results; Reference Figure 1. This shows a blanket achievement with no indication of students’ achievement across a range of strands of learning.
If it was a comprehension assessment, the teacher could use strands such as:
•    Retrieving directly stated information
•    Reflecting on text
•    Interpreting explicit information
•    Interpreting by making inferences
•    Similarly if it was a numeracy assessment, the strands could be:
•    3D interpretation
•    Problem solving
•    Area
•    Chance & Data
•    Fractions
 Bearing in mind Masters’ assertion that in any teaching group of students there can be a spread of as much as six years (Masters 2013, Reforming Educational Assessment p. 13), it is essential that teachers are able to quickly identify students’ strengths and weaknesses in a particular strand of learning. The solution to obtaining progress when addressing this problem is transformed from the vagueness of Figure 1 to clarity when using AutoMarque’s ‘Learning Needs Analysis’, as seen in Figure 2.
By clicking on the ‘Learning Needs Analysis’ icon in AutoMarque, the teacher is asked to identify the strand that is to be analysed. AutoMarque then automatically ranks the students in a specified strand of learning from the least to the most successful. Based on this list, the teacher is far more likely to be able to group students according to their learning needs enabling effective intervention through differentiated teaching.
It is through such effective diagnostic intervention that teachers are seen to be proactive and leaders in their profession as they improve the learning outcomes of all students.