Recently I was talking to some students who are gifted, and they were commenting about their areas of interest, study, and plans to make some sort of change in the world around them. Some wanted to impact students who came after them by making changes in course programming so the school can try to keep current issues in the forefront. Others wanted to impact the overall opportunities students have by participating in service projects, internships, volunteer activities, and other events. I was struck by the diversity of their giftedness and the fact that each of them was very serious about helping make their world a better place. These are students who will make a difference because they think deeply about the issues, solutions and ways to generate change. This deep thought is characteristic of many students who are gifted. Their deep thought and concern to make a positive difference for those who come after them is a part of who they are. Many students who are gifted will make a difference in the lives of others and create change that will impact gifted students for years to come. We can support these students by encouraging them to research and follow-through with their ideas, and by advocating for their needs.
5 Ways to Create Change as a Student
How to Encourage Students to Dream and Lead Change
Change Minds. Change Policies. Change Practice.
I recently had a conversation with a few parents of gifted students about how their students’ teachers use rubrics (a means of evaluating student work) to grade all student assignments in their class. There was a wide variety of opinions about the topic of rubrics for grading, and about assignments in general. Some people thought assignments were “not as rigorous as they used to be,” a view perhaps many have when looking back at their own schooling. The question by another parent was “were assignments actually rigorous, or do you just think they were?” That’s a good point. Sometimes memory, especially of years past, has a way of smoothing over things we were not good at or thought were hard. Another person thought that the use of endless rubrics that her daughter brings home greatly limits her daughter’s ability to think and creatively complete assignments to show what she knows. Others agreed, and some disagreed.
It is true that some teachers use rubrics to evaluate and/or grade every assignment they give in their class. It is also true that some teachers do not use rubrics at all, and that still others use rubrics to evaluate only big projects. It seems that there is great diversity in how teachers evaluate student work.
For gifted students, flexibility in evaluating their work can lead to a greater understanding of the abilities of the students, and their ability to think critically, be creative, and express themselves at a deep level. Sometimes having to fit vast creative, deep, and/or critical thinking into a rubric’s confines may be upsetting or limiting for gifted students; however, it all depends on the rubric and how it is used. This is often a controversial topic, but there are ways to understand both sides of the issue of using or not using rubrics. Understanding the purpose of rubrics and how your student’s teacher uses them is a start. Below are some resources about rubrics including benefits and limitations.
Resources About Rubrics
How to Create and Use Rubrics for Formative Assessment and Grading
Utah Education Network
How Do Rubrics Help?
The Benefits & Limitations of Grading Rubrics
Etale Newsletter, Dr. Bernard Bull
Ask the Doctor