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Field 064: Gifted Education

Sample Constructed-Response Item

Competency 0007
Analysis, Synthesis, and Application

Use the information in the exhibits to complete the task that follows.

Analyze the information provided in the exhibits and, using evidence from each of the exhibits to support your ideas, write a response of approximately 400–600 words in which you:

Be sure to use evidence from each of the exhibits in your response.

Exhibit 1: Student Profile

Information Contributed by a Teacher of Students Who Are Gifted and Talented, Mr. Chen:

Callie is a highly gifted six-year-old who attends a second-grade general education class. Formal assessments demonstrate that Callie is gifted in both math and verbal ability, with an IQ of 150. She routinely performs at the fifth- or sixth-grade level in reading and writing. Callie loves to write stories, but she is never quite satisfied with them, and her second-grade teacher reports that it can be difficult to persuade her to hand in her work. Callie often expresses concern that her writing is "not as good as Shakespeare." Callie brings a comfort object with her to school, a stuffed elephant named Ellie. Although Callie is reluctant to set Ellie aside during the school day, she has agreed to "visit" Ellie, who remains in her backpack, during quiet time and lunch.

Callie lives in a multigenerational household with her mother, her twin three-year-old brothers, and her maternal grandparents. She spends much of her time writing stories for her little brothers. She also writes comic plays to perform with her brothers, in which she usually plays the starring role of "Queen Mab, the Queen of Fairies." She loves to help in the kitchen and invent food dishes that she prepares for her "fairies." Her mother says that Callie prefers the conversation of adults to that of children her own age. One of Callie's favorite adults is the school library-media specialist, who shares her enthusiasm for words, reading, and philosophy, subjects that she never discusses with her same-age peers.

Information Contributed by Callie's Second-Grade Teacher, Ms. Smythe:

Callie is a pleasure to have in class; she is bright and witty and makes swift connections between ideas. She becomes excited about the "whys" and "wherefores" of history and is very active in discussion. She can become very intense about subjects that interest her and expresses deep disappointment when the class has to move on to other topics.

Cooperative learning activities are hard for Callie. Becoming impatient with the slow pace of give-and-take during group projects, she takes charge, directing the activity and often doing most of the work. This behavior has mixed consequences: while her classmates respect and appreciate what she is doing, they also complain about being "bossed around." Callie, in turn, complains about having to "do all the work" herself.

During recess, Callie uses her lively imagination to invent vivid adventure games involving fairies who get themselves into various predicaments. These games appeal to most of the girls in the class, and bonding through play has become Callie's main source of peer relationships. At school, Callie seems happiest when playing her fairy games.

Information Contributed by Callie:

When asked by Mr. Chen about her interests, Callie said, "What I love best are words because I can make stories out of them. But I love to draw, too, and make books. And I know almost everything about fairies, which I have read about a lot. There are lots of fairies in Shakespeare, but I like other kinds better. Of course, everything mortals know about fairies is hypothetical because fairies are mysterious and don't necessarily want humans to know all their secrets, which I totally get because sometimes people don't really understand their language or their jokes."

When Mr. Chen asked what she thought about school, Callie said, "School's OK, but when I go to college, I will be able to study things that I am passionate about and it will be more challenging."

Exhibit 2: Weekly Math Quiz Scores – First Nine Weeks of School

Callie's Weekly Math Quiz Scores
(First Nine Weeks of School)
Week Topic Score Teacher Comments
1 Number Facts and Number Families 100% Callie expressed the wish that she had gotten a 99% because she likes double numbers and 99 is divisible by 3, which is how old her little brothers are.
2 Number Patterns 100% Callie finished before everyone else. Had to remind her not to chat while others were still working.
3 Writing Numbers and Base 10 Relationships 65% Many of her answers were careless and illegible. When done, she began writing strings of 1s and 0s and announced that she liked Base 2 better than Base 10.
4 Addition and Subtraction 40% Stopped taking quiz halfway through and had to be asked to remain in her seat. Drew fairies on the back of the page.
5 Calendar Patterns 50% Completed quiz rapidly and folded her paper into an origami bird.
6 Place Value, Odd and Even Numbers 55% Finished quiz in fewer than 10 minutes, made a number of careless errors. She glanced over her work when prompted but made no corrections.
7 Shapes, Equivalency, and Measuring 100% Callie loved this open-ended quiz. She chose to use measures and equivalents to create and describe a cookie recipe.
8 Solving Math Problems with Charts and Puzzles 80% Completed quiz well before her classmates, drew fairies on the page.
9 Building Shapes ungraded creative project using shapes Made elaborate designs and tessellations and was deeply engaged the entire time.

Sample Strong Response to the Constructed-Response Assignment (593 words)

Callie has a significant academic need in math. Specifically, she needs to apply more focus and precision in her answers. Although Callie has some math skills at the mastery level (Exhibit 2, Quizzes #1, 2, and 7), teacher comments indicate that lower grades on Quizzes #3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 relate to the speed of Callie's work and her behavior during testing. Callie sometimes finishes her work quickly, makes careless mistakes, and spends work time on activities that are tangential (working in Base 2) or unrelated (drawing fairies) to her assigned task.

The use of choice boards for formative assessments would be an appropriate strategy for Callie. A choice board (or Tic-Tac-Toe board) provides the student with several methods for presenting a task. The teacher-made menu of choices can scaffold complex skills and reflect the student's interests and learning styles.

This strategy would be appropriate for Callie. By having a choice in how she will demonstrate her knowledge of math, Callie will more readily engage with her activity. We see evidence of this in Quiz #7, where Callie scored 100% on an "open-ended quiz" in which she "chose to… create… a cookie recipe." If she is more engaged, she will be more likely to make sure her answers are correct and she will be less likely to avoid areas where she may be experiencing a gap in skills. For example, we aren't sure why, for Quiz #4, she "stopped taking [the quiz] halfway through." It might be that she was being inattentive because she was more interested in drawing fairies than doing math, or it might be that she hadn't mastered the skills and just gave up. Had that quiz been designed as a task that would fully engage Callie's attention, the score would have been a clearer indicator of whether or not she needed help in the topic.

Callie's need in the social-emotional domain is to develop skills in cooperation. In Exhibit 1, Mr. Chen notes that "cooperative learning activities are hard for Callie" and that Callie becomes impatient. Callie tends to take charge of the group and do much of the work herself, which she resents. Her classmates, in turn, resent what they perceive to be her bossiness during these activities.

One strategy to address Callie's need to learn skills in cooperation is for the teacher to modify the cooperative learning activities. This includes making modifications in the composition of the group, the content of the activity, and the method of grading. Callie should have the opportunity to sometimes work with other students who are gifted and talented. When Mr. Chen selects mixed-ability groupings, he should choose a task that truly affords each student the opportunity to contribute at his or her level of learning and also allows Callie to work with challenging content. Grading of cooperative learning projects should recognize the contribution of individual students without penalizing them for work left undone by their classmates.

This is an appropriate strategy for Callie because it would enable her to practice cooperation skills in an environment more conducive to success. If Callie's task in her group was unique and challenging, and if the tasks of the other students were geared to their strengths, not hers, she would be less likely to try to dominate the group. If she was graded only on her own contribution, she would not feel she had to do everyone else's work in order to complete the project. If she worked from time to time with other students who were gifted and talented, she would be less likely to grow impatient.

Performance Characteristics for Constructed-Response Item

The following characteristics guide the scoring of responses to the constructed-response assignment.

Completeness The degree to which the response addresses all parts of the assignment
Accuracy The degree to which the response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills accurately and effectively
Depth of Support The degree to which the response provides appropriate examples and details that demonstrate sound reasoning

Score Scale for Constructed-Response Item

A score will be assigned to the response to the constructed-response item according to the following score scale.

Score Point Score Point Description
4 The "4" response reflects a thorough command of the relevant knowledge and skills:
  • The response thoroughly addresses all parts of the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills with thorough accuracy and effectiveness.
  • The response is well supported by relevant examples and details and thoroughly demonstrates sound reasoning.
3 The "3" response reflects a general command of the relevant knowledge and skills:
  • The response generally addresses all parts of the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills with general accuracy and effectiveness.
  • The response is generally supported by some examples and/or details and generally demonstrates sound reasoning.
2 The "2" response reflects a partial command of the relevant knowledge and skills:
  • The response addresses all parts of the assignment, but most only partially; or some parts are not addressed at all.
  • The response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills with partial accuracy and effectiveness.
  • The response is partially supported by some examples and/or details or demonstrates flawed reasoning.
1 The "1" response reflects little or no command of the relevant knowledge and skills:
  • The response minimally addresses the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills with minimum accuracy and effectiveness.
  • The response is minimally supported or demonstrates significantly flawed reasoning.
UThe response is unscorable because it is unrelated to the assigned topic or off-task, unreadable, written in a language other than English or contains an insufficient amount of original work to score.
BNo response.