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Posted by on Mar 2, 2016 in Featured Resource, Recommended Reading

Featured Reading on Underachievement and GT Learners

Featured Reading on Underachievement and GT Learners

What is underachievement and how does it fit into supporting our GT learners? As follow-up to our recent chapter meeting, we’ve put together featured reading and other resources on the topic to support area students, educators, and parents.

First, let’s dispel a key myth. Underachievement is not about perfect marks, the number of AP courses a student takes, the extracurricular activities a student pursues, or even struggling with a concept. These unfortunate misconceptions feed into common stereotypes about GT learners.

unfocusedInstead, underachievement reflects a negative pattern of changed behaviors and attitudes over time that directly impact student growth and potential. For example, an underachieving GT learner might tune out or disengage when they face:

  • Stress from significant family changes (unemployment, divorce, a severe health issue, etc.)
  • Limited access to learning interventions or instructional strategies that meet their needs and abilities
  • Peer criticism, bullying, or being singled out for academic strengths, aka, downplaying strengths in order to fit in, avoid hassle, or manage self-esteem and social networks
  • An un-diagnosed or mis-diagnosed condition such as ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, etc.

Gail Post, Ph.D., goes into greater depth about how to recognize gifted underachievement at the Gifted Challenges blog:

  • Underachievers under the radar: How seemingly-successful gifted students fall short of their potential (23 Nov 2015)
  • Who is the gifted underachiever? Four types of underachievement in gifted children (1 Feb 2016)
  • What causes gifted underachievement? (16 Feb 2016)

Additional Reading on Underachievement

  • From our January 2016 meeting, Recognize & Reverse Underachievement in Gifted Learners –  handouts (.pdf), including recommended reading Sarah introduced and highlighted during our discussion
  • The underachievement of gifted learners: What do we know and where do we go? by Sally M. Reis and D. Betsy McCoach in Gifted Child Quarterly, vol. 44, no. 33 – full online access available with NAGC membership
  • The gifted underachiever by Kevin Wickersham, 11 Nov 2014 at NSGT
  • Using self-regulated learning to reverse underachievement in talented students by Sally M. Reis and Meredith J. Green at NEAG Center for Creativity, Gifted Education and Talent Development, University of Connecticut
  • Underachievement in Exceptionally Gifted Adolescents and Young Adults: A Psychiatrist’s View by Jerald Grobman, M.D., from the Journal of Secondary Gifted Education. 2006 17(4) 199-210; reprinted by permission of Prufrock Press at SENG
  • Giftedness and academic underachievement: What lies beneath by Andrew S. Mahoney, M.S., L.P.C., L.M.F.T., at Counseling the Gifted
  • Parenting strategies to motivate underachieving gifted students by Del Siegle, Ph.D., Duke TIP Digest of Gifted Research, 29 Aug 2006
  • Meeting the needs of gifted underachievers — individually! by J. Smutney, originally printed in 2E Newsletter Dec 2004 via Davidson Gifted

Look for these and further articles on Underachievement, plus other topics related to GT learners, at our Resources page.

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