WATG Board Member, Conference Co-Chair
As an Instructional Coach who is also the Gifted and Talented Coordinator in my district, I often spend the weekends working on developing support systems for teachers. This weekend, I was creating a resource for assessment questions that encourage critical thinking based off of Diane Heacox and Richard Cash’s Differentiation for Gifted Learners: Going Beyond the Basics. (This invaluable book is a MUST have for all teachers!) The idea is that we need to allow students to take information they have learned and manipulate it in such a way that is beneficial to building skills, instead of allowing only simple regurgitation. Here is a sample of my resource:
These types of questions on assessments allow all students to manipulate information, but it is the gifted students who thrive on these questions. Too many times, gifted students do not feel challenged in school and are just waiting/begging for something or someone to kickstart their brain. As teachers use these types of questions on their assessments, they will see student responses blossom.
My mind is racing. Will the teachers incorporate this? Will they find it helpful? Burdensome? What if they don’t know how to incorporate it in their subject? By constructing this resource, something popped in my mind from January 19, 2020 on Edutopia.
And then I realized it’s just that simple. “What else do you know that I didn’t ask you?” This question is for the kids who excitedly ran home to Google topics learned in school, for those who crave more than we can teach within the confines of schedules, for those who love to delve deep into a topic, for those who can make connections to the topic we teach in such ways that we haven’t even realized yet. So, please...consider adding this question to the end of every test. It may not be a conversation/essay starter for many students, but what if it is for that one? It may open up doors for them you haven’t anticipated.