It seems right now the movement here in Ohio is toward the Common Core Standards. When I sat in a staff meeting a few months back and heard what our school district was proposing I thought it was a great idea. The idea of having a spiral type curriculum for subjects so students can climb up and down based on their achievement and knowledge of the standards.
I also like the fact that the standards have a rigorousness to them that the standards we have now don’t. I feel as a teacher we focus on teaching to a test. Once the test is over the learning is finished. With these new standards the ultimate goal is to get students prepared for college; making them college and career-ready when they graduate.
So how does the Common Core Standards meet the needs of gifted learners? According to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC),
Despite the obvious connection to the field of gifted education, the nature of advanced work beyond the CCSS is not addressed. In fact, the authors of the CCSS state, “The Standards do not define the nature of advanced work for students who meet the Standards prior to the end of high school” (English Language Arts Standards, p. 6).
I know the Common Core Standards are much tougher than the current standards, but we still need to address the fact that gifted learners will need differentiated instruction, curriculum, and assessments as much as students with learning disabilities will. I am surprised that the writers of this curriculum would not have given some attention to gifted learners, because they do have a statement about students with learning disabilities.
I agree with the NAGC, about expanding the role of gifted teachers.
In addition, it will become increasingly more important for gifted education coordinators, facilitators, and teachers to reaffirm and advocate for the need for specialized services for academically advanced and high-potential students. Beyond providing direct student services, gifted education professionals play an important role in the translation of the CCSS to the classroom by collaborating with other teachers and serving as a valuable resource for implementing differentiated curriculum and assessment. Gifted education professionals may also need to expand their role and act as a mentor/peer coach in providing sustained, job-embedded professional development to school personnel to ease implementation issues. Moreover, the research base from gifted education can contribute to the professional development that school administrators may need to support complex curriculum and deep student learning.
In the end, it will come down to the fact that gifted teachers will have to become more specialized in different fields, and may need to brush upon their pedagogy. We may need to get some extra resources to help build up the curriculum for gifted learners.
What do you think? Is your school going to Common Core Standards?