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Using Assessment and Feedback - Research Paper Example

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Differentiated instruction for gifted students poses a challenge to educators. Such heterogeneous setting would require that teachers become flexible in terms of content and format of their teachings (VanTassel-Baska & Stambaugh, 2005)…
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Using Assessment and Feedback Using Assessment and Feedback Handling a of gifted with multiple intelligences is a challenge faced by many teachers. There are several barriers that make it a difficult task. Among these barriers include “(a) degree of differentiation required, (b) need to provide advanced learning opportunities beyond grade level, (c) philosophical barriers and antipathy of many teachers toward the gifted learner and their needs, (d) lack of understood services for the gifted population, and (e) lack of service mandates in many states to support services for gifted learners leading to greater neglect” (VanTassel-Baska & Stambaugh, 2005). These barriers must be overcome in order that the needs of the gifted students will be met. In teaching a gifted class with students having multiple intelligences, it is essential that a teacher considers each student’s learning capacity and skills. Of utmost importance is the ability of the teacher to conduct pre-assessments among his students because the results of these pre-assessments will determine the method of teaching that he will implement. Aside from giving a pre-assessment test, the teachers must design a post-assessment strategy to evaluate whether the strategies that he employed are effective. One pre-assessment strategy is to conduct a pre-assessment test for all the students in the class. The test results will show the learning targets emerging for the student and what it is that he has already acquired or accomplished (Dobbertin, 2012). Dobbertin goes on further to say that students are able to see their test results through a chart which reveals the learning targets that each question was designed to assess (2012). With pre-assessment tests, the teacher gets a clearer perspective of each student’s strengths and weaknesses. Pre-assessment not only assists the teachers in the design of the course but more importantly, it helps the students figure out what they need to learn. One student puts it this way, “You don't have to be doing the same things as other people all the time. … I can learn it just how I need to learn it" (Dobbertin, 2012). Another type of pre-assessment strategy that may be undertaken by teachers is the diagnostic-prescriptive assessment. This is a strategy used for the gifted whereby the students are pre-assessed, grouped depending on their needs and provided effective curricular adjustments (VanTassel-Baska & Stambaugh, 2005). At the beginning of the year, the students will be given the end-of-the-year assessment for specific subject content. Depending on their scores, the curriculum will be adjusted accordingly. The students whose scores are within a certain level will be grouped together. “Grouping students in the same classroom at each grade level for specific content is not only beneficial to the child, but makes it easier for the teacher to manage the differentiated learning” (VanTassel-Baska & Stambaugh, 2005). If pre-assessment plays a major role in differentiated instruction in a gifted class with multiple intelligences, the post-assessment is also fundamental for differentiated instruction to be effective. Post assessment strategies are used by educators as planning tools for future changes in the curriculum of gifted students. These strategies are crucial indicators of the student’s performance and progress (VanTassel-Baska, 2005). One type of post-assessment strategy applied to a gifted class is the performance-based assessment. The achievements of gifted learners must not only be assessed through standard measures. There is also a need for assessment differentiation. To gauge their growth and development, performance-based tools would be more effective than the usual paper and pencil measures (VanTassel-Baska, 2005). This means that the students will be assessed based on their clear understanding of the learning process through their ability to provide responses to open-ended questions (VanTassel-Baska, 2005). Another post-assessment approach that may be employed for gifted learners is the use of rubrics for assessing the assignments given. This will enable the student to identify at the start of the assignment the expectation level required of them (VanTassel-Baska, 2005). Baska states further that this type of assessment, makes the criteria for judgment comprehensible to both teachers and students. Feedback from the pre and post-assessments are vital to a successful differentiated instruction for a gifted class with multiple intelligences. In the case of pre-assessment, feedback would uncover the requirements and interest of the students. It will identify the topics that are relevant to them and the method of instruction that they prefer (Kanevsky, 2011). In the case of post-assessment, feedback will identify the differences in the cognitive skills of the learners and their learning potentials. The pacing that will be followed by the instructors will be ascertained once feedback is obtained from the assessments conducted. A caveat though for the feedback that are given by teachers is that it should only focus on the student’s qualities and performance and must not involve comparisons with their other classmates because of the existence of multiple intelligences in their class (Black & William, 2001). Differentiated instruction for gifted students poses a challenge to educators. Such heterogeneous setting would require that teachers become flexible in terms of content and format of their teachings (VanTassel-Baska & Stambaugh, 2005). Educators must realize that teaching a class of gifted students with different levels of intelligence would require more creativity on their parts with regards to pedagogical strategies. Through the pre-assessment and post assessment strategies, teachers are provided with tools to achieve the task on hand. To backup these strategies, feedback mechanisms are essential to adequately serve the needs of the gifted child. References Black, P., & William, D. (2001, November 6). Inside the black box. Retrieved June 29, 2012, from weaeducation.typepad.co.uk: http://weaeducation.typepad.co.uk/files/blackbox-1.pdf Dobbertin, C. B. (2012). "Just how I need to learn it". Educational Leadership , 69 (5), 66-70. Kanevsky, L. (2011). Deferential differentiation: What types of differentiation do students want? Gifted Child Quarterly , 55 (4), 279-299. VanTassel-Baska, J. (2005). Gifted programs and services: What are the nonnegotiables? Theory Into Practice , 44 (2), 90-97. VanTassel-Baska, J., & Stambaugh, T. (2005). Challenges and posibilities for serving gifted learners in the regular classroom. Theory into Practice , 44 (3), 211-217. Read More
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