If we expect gifted students to learn information at a more rigorous level than the general population, then we must also assess them at higher levels as well. How can you embed higher level thinking skills into an assessment (and ditch those “multiple choice” and “fill in the blank” sections)?
Testing is a reality in any classroom, but what does it look like with your gifted learners? Drill and kill, test prep, reviewing material… these all go against the ideals of your gifted classroom. Yet it would be a disservice for your kids to head into a high-stakes test without the utmost preparation, right?
Moving from analysis to evaluation sure makes things more fun. Why? Check out these examples. Which would you rather answer?
Here’s a “critical thinking” question from the Houghton Mifflin selection “Beneath The Royal Palms:” “Why did Alma’s family decide to make nativity figurines?” To me this is asking for low level thinking, certainly not what I would consider “critical.” Now, let’s transform this into a beautiful and rigorous question suitable for your gifted kids.
Is this the message I want to give to my gifted students? “Follow the directions?” This is a room full of students who are creative, flexible, divergent thinkers. These are the future Noble Laureates, inventors, and revolutionaries. Let’s allow them (or better yet: force them) to exercise their creative muscles.
Nothing’s harder than trying to figure out how to honor students’ amazing creativity without coloring their academic grades. My solution: a vote and some special certificates.