I get a lot of questions about the practical details of running pre-assessments and setting up multiple groups in a classroom. I brainstormed a big ol’ list of tips I learned from my own experiments and those of my colleagues.
As a teacher, once I started pre-assessing, I quickly discovered that many of my students already knew what I was teaching them. Recent research shows that this is surprisingly common.
But, I didn’t know this until I started pre-assessing.
I also discovered that the pain of planning and running pre-assessments and multiple groups was nothing compared to the benefits. Here are some articles about how I ran pre-assessments in my own classroom:
In a previous post, we discussed traits of quality pre-assessment. Here are three documents to help you make pre-assessment easier: a parent letter, a daily work log, and a rubric for grading project presentations.
Judy Galbraith identified boredom with school as a gripe of gifted students. This complaint is completely understandable. How many meetings have you sat through, going over material you had already mastered? For our gifted students, their school career is a long stretch of those meetings.
I’m constantly reminded that just because a student is gifted, doesn’t mean they have mastered every skill. In fact, it’s just as possible to have a first grader reading at a sixth grade level as it is to have a sixth grader who lacks third grade skills. Being a teacher of gifted students means feeding their appetite for big concepts while also fine-tuning fundamental skills that may be lacking.
100%, 100%, 100%. If you’ve ever taught gifted students math, you’re probably familiar with those kids who can knock perfect scores out week after week. You’ve probably also questioned what good you’re doing for those students. A differentiated math program may be just what you need.
Nothing stirs up behavior problems like trying to teach a gifted student something they already know. After watching my class average over 90% month after month on their Houghton Mifflin end of unit tests, I began to get a sneaky suspicion that some of them already knew the material prior to my instruction. This realization led to my use of the HM Theme Skills tests as a pre-assessment to create flexible groups.