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Debunking the Myths about Gifted Students Part 3

Debunking the Myths about Gifted Students Part 3

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - April 24th, 2018

What do you do when your child is judged unfairly, isn’t being challenged or isn’t trying anymore? Well, if you are like me, you get your act together and figure out how to help your child! Giftedness opens up new challenges for sure. That is why we want to take time in this series to debunk the myths and speak the truth, so it can help you along on your journey.

Debunking the Myths about Gifted Students

Myth: Acceleration Placement Options Are Socially Harmful For Gifted Students

Debunked: Academically gifted students often feel bored or out of place with their age peers and naturally gravitate towards older students who are more similar as “intellectual peers.” Studies have shown that many students are happier with older students who share their interest than they are with children the same age.* Therefore, acceleration placement options such as early entrance to Kindergarten, grade skipping, or early exit should be considered for these students.

Here’s what we recommend at

Know your child’s needs, strengths and weaknesses, so that you can set him or her up for success! While learning may happen in an environment that is full of older children, make intentional plans to place your child in environments with peers and other ages of people, younger and older, as well. A well-rounded child will grow comfortable and find that any age group has something to say and express that is of value to him personally. Building these skills into a child also means we are teaching our child to give back, to listen better and to learn consideration for people. It is the making of a good citizen.

Myth: Gifted Education Programs Are Elitist

Debunked: Gifted education programs are meant to help all high-ability students. Gifted learners are found in all cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic groups. However, many of these students are denied the opportunity to maximize their potential because of the way in which programs and services are funded, and/or flawed identification practices. For example, reliance on a single test score for gifted education services may exclude selection of students with different cultural experiences and opportunities. Additionally, with no federal money and few states providing an adequate funding stream, most gifted education programs and services are dependent solely on local funds and parent demand. This means that in spite of the need, often only higher-income school districts are able to provide services, giving the appearance of elitism.

Here’s what we recommend at

Look for ways to participate in the process and become educated about how the system works in your area. Be a voice for your child, as well as other students in your community. Bring your concerns and findings to the school district in your area and see if you can be the change in this environment and become an advocate for gifted students. Invite others to attend gifted and talented seminars, which are scheduled across the country. The next one is this Saturday in Houston!  For future events, we will list them here.

Myth: That Student Can’t Be Gifted, He Is Receiving Poor Grades

Debunked: Underachievement describes a discrepancy between a student’s performance and his actual ability. The roots of this problem differ, based on each child’s experiences. Gifted students may become bored or frustrated in an unchallenging classroom situation causing them to lose interest, learn bad study habits, or distrust the school environment. Other students may mask their abilities to try to fit in socially with their same-age peers and still others may have a learning disability that masks their giftedness. No matter the cause, it is imperative that a caring and perceptive adult help gifted learners break the cycle of underachievement in order to achieve their full potential.

Here’s what we recommend at

Well this can be a bigger-scaled topic, depending on if the grades are linked solely to not being challenged and social issues at school versus situations at home and elsewhere that might be contributing, as well. Ultimately, in this situation, getting good counsel or even counselling will be key. There are also some great programs, like mentorships and camps, that can really turn on the light bulb and get your child not only excelling in school again, but being excited about taking his or her gifting and using those gifts in a way that changes the future!


Week One: Debunking the Myths about Gifted Students

Week Two: Debunking the Myths about Gifted Students, Part 2

Developed from a longer list of myths explored in a special of Gifted Child Quarterly (GCQ) in the Fall of 2009
*Colangelo, N., Assouline, S. G., & Gross, M.U.M. (2004). A nation deceived:  How schools hold back America’s brightest students.  Iowa City: University of Iowa.

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