Myth: Gifted students don’t need help; they’ll do fine on their own
While gifted students do have an extraordinary level of potential and ability, their high aptitude for learning can easily go to waste if it is not fostered properly. The facts clearly show that gifted students need teachers who will challenge them. According to a 1991 study, between 18 and 25% of gifted and talented students drop out of school. Gifted dropouts were generally from a lower socio-economic status family and had little or no access to extracurricular activities, hobbies, or technology. Following are some statistics, books, articles and links to webpages that will help to dispel the myth that “gifted students will be fine on their own.”
• Visit "Why We Should Advocate For G/T Students" to learn more about how classroom experiences and teacher qualifications and abilities relate to gifted students and their success.
• Visit "Gifted Education Works" for information about a range of gifted education strategies and their success.
• The "Equity In Excellence" webpage contains information about the achievement gap that has developed between subgroups of high-ability students due in part to lack of quality instruction.
• Studies have shown that as they progress through school, American children are falling further behind their foreign counterparts. At the 4th grade level only seven countries have higher average Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) scores in mathematics than the United States, but by 8th grade that number is nearly tripled with 20 countries having higher average scores than the U.S. In the 12th grade advanced math level, not one country has lower average scores than the United States. The science achievement scores are equally unnerving. These numbers indicate that all of our students need help in school; if they are left to learn on their own, they will continue to fall behind. For more details visit the "Pipeline of STEM Talent" webpage.
• When young high-ability children are placed in classrooms that are designed for low or average-ability students, they typically experience boredom, frustration, and decreased motivation. For more information read
Neihart, M., Reis, S. M., Robinson, N. M., & Moon, S. M., (Eds.). (2002). The social and emotional development of gifted children: What do we know? Waco, TX
• Gallagher, J. J. (1991). Programs for gifted students: Enlightened self-interest. Gifted Child Quarterly, 35(4), 177-178.