G I F T E D E D U C A T I O N and Underachievement
Susan Cohoon – Iowa, U.S.A.
Myths/Truths --- “Dirty” Little Secret
Can you tell which of these
students are gifted?
• Global giftedness –
power across the
• Gifted in one
• Learning disabled in
• Artistically or
children = not really
that different from
Myth academically gifted
• Children with
exceptional ability in
art = simply talented.
• high IQ • Little evidence
• “made” by nonacademic areas
overzealous requires exceptional IQ
parents • Parents highly involved
• Face ridicule, taunts,
• glowing with socially isolate and
• Giftedness is inborn • powerful influence on
development of gifts
• Gifted children
• All children are gifted • special needs
• Very few gifted become
• Gifted children become prominent adult
prominent adults creators.
More Myths Winner, 1996
Education’s Dirty Secret
• Gifted education is often
haphazard, ineffective, and
Strip & Hirsch, 2000; Davidson & Davidson, 2004
Colangelo, Asuline, & Gross, 2004
• Can put child
• Scores affected
• TEST BIASES
• Favor those fluent
Strip and Hirsh, 2000
• Exclude minorities
• Lower socio-
• Tests administered by economic
psychologist • Recent
• more reliable than group tests. immigrants
Rimm, 1995 • ELL students
Education systems rarely
provides what gifted
•Work that challenges to extent
•in environment with other kids
who love to learn
curriculum to abilities
•Opportunity to explore
topics in depth
•surrounded by academic peers.
Davidson & Davidson, 2004
being called “gifted”
• Belief only perfection can
rescue damaged self
• interferes with performance
• All-or-nothing thinking
• unrealistic goal setting
• Avoid competition
• miss important skills
• Feeds on itself
• Grows until something or someone intervenes
• Rarely pay attention
• Little or no studying
• Do not do homework or complete assignments (Rimm, 1995)
• Counterproductive classroom behavior (Rathvon, 1996)
• Goals too high /too low,
• deny opportunity to
•Disorganization build confidence
•Lack of personal control • refuse to risk failure
over educational success
• Kept with age peers
• wait for others to catch up
• stunt growth in order not to appear different.
• fail to develop discipline and confidence that comes
from being challenged to the extent of abilities.
• Stunting the growth of gifted children
• limits ability of society to make great leaps in art & science
• True social justice
• providing education that challenges all students to extent
(Davidson & Davidson, 2004)
• Is grade acceleration
• Single subject
the Best Alternative
• GED or state standardized tests
• taken at early ages to go to college
Davidson & Davidson, 2004
• Acceleration levels
playing field of opportunity
•cost to the family or
Colangelo, Assouline, Gross, 2004
Types of Acceleration
• Early admission
• Kindergarten, First Grade
• Middle School, High School
• Grade skipping
• Subject matter or partial
• Curriculum Compacting
• Dual enrollment
• Advanced Placement (Rimm, 1995)
• With well thought-out written plan
• gifted child with advance development in one or
more areas receive consistent curriculum and
• geared to academic ability and potential
• Without an appropriate educational plan
• gifted children often lose excitement for learning
• For every year a highly gifted child is
left in regular, un-enriched classrooms,
a year is lost of what the intellectual
capabilities could have been
• (Davidson & Davidson, 2004)
• Students must be
exercise their minds
to the best of their
• Rimm, 1995
• Colangelo, N., Asuline, S.G., & Gross, M.U.M. (2004). A
nation deceived: How schools hold back America's brightest
students. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press.
• Davidson, J., & Davidson, B. with Vanderkam, L. (2004).
Genius denied. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
• Rimm, S.B. (1995). Why bright kids get poor grades: And
what you can do about it. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.
• Rimm, S.B. (2006). When gifted students underachieve: What
you can co about it. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.
• Rogers, K.B. (2002). Re-forming gifted education: Matching
the program to the child.. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential
• Ruf, D.L. (2005). Losing our mind: Gifted children left behind.
Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press, Inc..
• Strip, C.A., & Hirsch, G. (2000). Helping gifted children soar.
Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press, Inc.
• Winner, E. (1996). Gifted children: Myths and realities. New
York, NY: Basic Books.