How to Use Curriculum Compacting in the Classroom

Curriculum compacting is an interesting teaching method whereby teachers can tweak the curriculum to suit the needs of extremely smart students. This method involves noting which students have the highest level of proficiency across the board (with regards to outlined learning outcomes) and coming up with deeper, more challenging learning objectives to further sharpen the minds of these already gifted students.

This way, those students don’t have to process only information that is subpar to their level of intelligence because they are being taught at the level of other students. They can move quickly through or skip mastered objectives and get into learning experiences, which are suitably intellectually challenging and support their topical passions or interests.

Through curriculum compacting, gifted students can leap forward into experiences, which comprise content objectives desirable for them in terms of increasing challenge, complexity, and problem-solving of the course objectives.

Teachers of these students have to recognize the learning objectives first. Depending on these objectives, teachers provide an assessment that mirrors the content of the unit upfront with the gifted student. The objective of this pre-assessment is to assess how much of the curriculum the student has mastered. The assessments can comprise performance or open-ended tasks, student observations, student conferences, end-of-unit tests, and/or other types of formal or informal techniques. These should be comprehensive and assigned prior to the beginning of the unit or within its initial few days of study. It helps the teacher identify the parts of the unit that need further instruction or that need to be compacted.

When it is observed that a customized approach to learning can be offered to gifted students, there can be different forms of challenging opportunities. These let them work with real-world applications, research opportunities, greater levels of questioning and inquiry, and much more. For instance, in science, compacting might stand for students who have shown mastery in comprehension activities that promote vocabulary understanding, move into experiences, which support experimentation and exploration of scientific processes and laws in novel methods. In mathematics, for students ready to take up a compacted curriculum, guided practice math problems can be replaced with complex problem-solving situations that let them apply math concepts to real-life problems.

The key is to stay familiar with the sense of understanding of the gifted student before introducing new content and during the entire course of study to ensure that there is no repetition in learning and there are opportunities for growth, complexity, and challenge as students exhibit proficiency.

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