Role of Assessment and Curriculum Design
The first consideration in assessment is best practices in the identification of GT students. It’s important to use multiple criteria when assessing and identifying GT students. Various assessments should be used at varied times. Consideration should be given to multiple talent areas. When identifying students for a GT program, measures that are relevant to available programs should be considered. Equitable processes for selection, validation and placement are important in the identification process. Consideration of instruments (tests) and other approaches should be sensitive to the inclusion of minority, ELL, low-SES and disabled students. Out-of-level assessments may need to be used and different procedures should be considered for secondary students.
There are many considerations that must be taken into consideration when designing curriculum for identified GT students. Does the curriculum provide sufficient depth, complexity, and pacing? GT students should be provided opportunities for metacognition and reflection. Will they be taught content, process, and concepts? Three characteristics of GT students critical for curriculum design include complexity, precocity and intensity. (VanTassel-Baska 2011) Motivation, persistence, interests, and access to resources and support are also important. GT students are capable of providing high-quality feedback regarding the curriculum. Will they be given sufficient voice to provide such feedback?
Appropriate learning assessments for gifted students include performance-based assessments and off-level achievement tests. Portfolios and informal assessments such as one-on-one discussion or peer-group discussions and observations are also appropriate for GT students.
The NAGC has produced national standards which list expected student outcomes. Standard 3 deals specifically with curriculum planning and instruction. We have provided links to these resources. Student outcomes include students demonstrating growth commensurate with aptitude; developing talents in talent or interest areas; and becoming independent investigators. In addition, student outcomes include developing knowledge and skills to live in a multicultural, diverse and global society; and receive benefits from gifted education that provides high quality resources and materials.
GT curriculum should provide “a means to serve not only the internal characteristics of gifted students, but also develop talent traits that are instrumental for advanced achievement. These talent traits include intellectual engagement, openness to experience, perseverance and passion for attaining long-term goals, a need for Ascending Intellectual Demand & intense focus in areas of personal and professional interests.” (Housand, A)
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About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Curriculum Planning and Instructional Design for Gifted Learners (3rd ed.) (aff. link)
Methods and Materials for Teaching the Gifted (4th ed.) (aff. link)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.