Can Gifted Children Receive Failing Grades?

MYTH – Children receiving failing grades CANNOT be gifted.
I find this myth one of the most interesting, as if grades and school performance were an actual indicator of giftedness. Sadly, some believe they are.

The truth is that one has nothing to do with the other. As I stated earlier, giftedness specifically relates to a set of attributes related to the way in which a person perceives the world and generalizes that information. It is something that is hard-wired and involves both cognitive and social/emotional attributes.

Performance, on the other hand, has to do with the way a child meets specific goals or objectives related to a task.

Gifted kids can underperform just as any child can. Things like motivation, environmental reasons and emotional considerations can all influence how children perform at school – even gifted children. In fact, with the emphasis in many schools on the rote learning of specific facts, and not on the generalization of those facts to novel situations, I would guess that there is a disproportionately high number of gifted kids who underperform given their cognitive acuity.

Regardless of why a gifted child receives failing grades, it is important to remember that they are first and foremost gifted – prone to certain intensities that influence, but are not related directly to, performance. Keeping in mind strategies geared towards working with such children is one way parents and educators can positively impact future performance.

What do you think about kids that under-perform? Can they also be gifted? Or does one preclude the other?

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One thought on “Can Gifted Children Receive Failing Grades?

  1. When I was in school I never turned in homework. Partially because I was disorganized, but also because I I so rarely felt it was an example of what I could do. I threw away more points than I earned probably and I didn’t really care. I didn’t care about grades, feeling teachers gave out A’s to anyone who bothered to try. Even in college I was not a big fan of homework. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I started doing the homework because I was part of a team and knew their grades, in part, depended on me.

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