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?