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Gifted Underachievers

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Greg Nelson

on 24 October 2013

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Transcript of Gifted Underachievers

What do we mean by an underachieving gifted student?
Greg Nelson
Gifted Student Support Team
Glen River Public School

background image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pareeerica/
Further Resources for Teachers & Parents
Motivating Underachievers: Strategies for Teachers & Parents (Coil 2007)
Identifying able underachievers (London Gifted & Talented 2009)
NSW DEC | Gifted and Talented Education
Policy and implementation strategies for the education of gifted and talented students
Guidelines for the use of strategies to support gifted and talented students
Identification Support Package
Acceleration Support Package
Curriculum Differentiation Support Package
Parent Information Package
Identification Methods
Teacher Resources
Reversing Underachievement
Parent Resources
Things to be aware of:
Differentiated Learning Experience
Stage 3 Student Contract Unit
Like gifted students in general, underachievers can exhibit great diversity in their behaviours, interests, abilities and in the causes for their underachievement, therefore definitions tend to vary (Davis, Rimm & Siegle 2011; Reis & McCoach 2000).
Typical characteristics of underachieving students include, but are not limited to:
A majority of studies agree that underachievement is a significant variation between a students classroom performance and a measure of his or her potential ability (Davis, Rimm & Siegle 2011; Baker, Bridger & Evans 1998; Reis & McCoach 2000; Gagné 2003), then vary on specific details.
With no singular definition of underachievement it becomes impossible to determine solid statistics on underachievement, however having a fluid definition actually assists in identifying students which a rigid definition may overlook (Davis, Rimm & Siegle 2011; Montgomery, 1996).
Low Self-Esteem
Poor Self-Efficacy
Avoidance Behaviours
Poor Study Habits
Peer Acceptance Problems
Discipline Problems
Poor School Concentration
Fear of Failure
Fear of Success
Excessive Need for Attention
Avoidance of Responsibility
Avoidance of Competition
What does this mean for Glen River P.S.?
(Davis, Rimm & Siegle 2011; Grobman 2006; NSW DEC 2004;
Montgomery 1996; McCoach & Siegle 2003)
We already have a gifted student support program in place with 10 of our 300 students taking part in the program.
"The underachieving gifted child represents both society's greatest loss and it's greatest potential resource."
~ Davis, Rimm & Siegle 2011 p.207
However, no single set of gifted services meets the needs of all gifted students.
Although our program already features a wide range of students, given the diversity in our Western Sydney location, as part of our school awareness and development program we have a responsibility to improve our identification procedures. The aim being to ensure no gifted students, whether they be underachievers, culturally diverse, twice exceptional or socio-economically disadvantaged, remain un-identified (NSW DEC 2006).
It is crucial for both teachers & parents to be aware that gifted students can potentially go un-identified as their underachievement masks their gifts so that as a community we can identify and assist these students.
NSW Department of Education & Communities - Teacher nomination form
How to measure a students "actual ability"
Typical measures of actual ability:
Intelligence Test Scores
Achievement Test Scores
Creativity Test Scores
Specifically for underachievers:
(Rimm 2012a)
Achievement Identification Measure (AIM)
Group Achievement Identification Measure (GAIM)
Achievement Identification Measure - Teacher Observation (AIM-TO)
Image Source: Rimm 2008
Rimm (2008) provides a visual representation of gifted students which can help you identify if you have an underachiever in your classroom or for parents, in your home
Supporting this visual resource is an Underachievement Quiz for both Parents and Teachers (Rimm 2012b).
Further Identification Resources
lly with the student privately about interests
and concerns.
isten to what the student says.
earn about what the student is thinking.
nitiate opportunities for recognition of the
student’s strengths.
dd experimental ideas for engaging curricular
and extracurricular activities.
urture relationships with appropriate adult
and peer role models.
onsequence reasonably but firmly if student
doesn’t meet commitments.
mphasis on effort, independence, realistic
expectations, and how strengths can be used
to cope with problems.
Assessment of Skills, Abilities,
Reinforcement Contingencies , and
Types of Underachievement
Changing Expectations of Important
Role Model Identification.
Correcting Skill Deficiencies.
Modifications of Reinforcements at
Home & School.
There is no easy fix and each reversal requires a tailored approach for the student however there are models which provide flexible frameworks
(Rimm 2008)
(Davis, Rimm & Siegle 2011)
At School
Peer Pressure
Lack of Challenge
Conflicts with Teachers
Unidentified Learning Disabilities
Too Much or Little Competition
A Move to a More or Less Difficult School
At Home
Over protectiveness
Sibling Rivalry
Conflict between Parents in Expectations
Over empowerment
Too Much or Too Little Attention
Anti-Work Attitude or Over Emphasis on Work
Feelings of Pressure
Possible causes of underachievement:
Underachieving students may benefit from access to school counselling services (Rimm 2008). Many of these students can experience frustration and emotional distress due to their lack of performance in an academic setting. There are
counselling services available at Glen River P.S., so if you have any concerns
please contact one of our Gifted Student Support Team members.
Dr. Sylvia Rimm's Articles for Parents and Teachers
Nomination form: Gifted Underachiever
Based on Whitmore's (1980) Giftedness, Conflict and Underachievement.
Sylvia Rimm On Raising Kids
A Newsletter to Help Parents and Teachers Vol 19 Issue 1
Baker, J., Bridger, R., and Evans, K. (1998). Models of Underachievement Among Gifted Preadolescents: The Role of Personal, Family, and School Factors. Gifted Child Quarterly, 42(1), 5-15.

Davis, G., Rimm, S., & Siegle, D. (2011). Underachievement. In D. Alperstein & J. Marston (Eds.), Teaching the Gifted and Talented Student. (pp. 207-242). Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education Inc.

Gagné, F. (2003). Transforming gifts into talents: The DMGT as a developmental theory. In N. Colangelo & G. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of gifted education (3rd ed., pp.60-74). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Grobman, J. (2006). Underachievement in Exceptionally Gifted Adolescents and Young Adults: A Psychiatrist’s View. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 17(4), 199-210.

Hansen, J. & Johnston-Toso, S. (2007). Gifted Dropouts: Personality, Family, Social, and School Factors. Gifted Child Today, 30(4), 30-41.

McCoach, B. & Siegle, D. (2003). Factors That Differentiate Underachieving Gifted Students
From High-Achieving Gifted Students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 47(2), 144-154.

Montgomery, D. (1996). Educating the Able. London:Cassell.

NSW DEC. (2006). Gifted and Talented Policy.
NSW DEC.(2004). Policy and implementation
strategies for the education of gifted and talented students - Identification. Retrieved from NSW Department of Education & Communities website Retrieved from: http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/policies/gats/assets/pdf/polsu

Reis, S. & McCoach, B. (2000). The Underachievement of Gifted Students: What Do We Know and Where Do We Go? Gifted Child Quarterly, 44:152, 152-170.

Renzulli, J. & Reis, S. (1993). Using the schoolwide enrichment triad model to provide programs for underserved gifted and talented students. In B. Wallace & H. Adams, (Eds.), Worldwide Perspectives on the Gifted Disadvantaged. Bicester: A B Academic Publishers.

Rimm, S. (2008). Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades: And What You Can Do About It. Scottsdale, Arizona: Great Potential Press.

Rimm, S. (2012a). Underachievement Identification Instruments. Retrieved from: http://www.sylviarimm.com/uii.html

Rimm, S. (2012b). Underachievement Quiz. Retrieved from: http://www.sylviarimm.com/uq.html
(Rimm 2008; Davis, Rimm, & Siegle 2011; Baker, Bridger & Evans 1998; Hansen & Johnston-Toso 2007)
Differentiated Learning Experience
Stage 3 Student Contract Unit
Selects and uses the appropriate unit and device to measure lengths, distances and perimeters.
Displays and interprets data in graphs with scales of many –to-one correspondence.
Describes roles and responsibilities in developing and maintaining positive relationships.
Athletics Investigation
(Sample from larger body of work)
In small groups (no more than 4) take turns at participating in a few athletics field events, long jump, shot-put and discus. Take turns to measure each others jumps & throws recording each in the same units they use at professional meets.

Using our class survey of participation at our recent athletics carnival graph participation in both track and field events using at least two different types of graphs.

List the feelings that you and your friend would experience if you had just come first in your best friend’s favourite athletics event. How could you demonstrate sensitivity to the feelings of your friend and communicate it?
Selects and uses the appropriate unit and device to measure lengths, distances and perimeters.
Displays and interprets data in graphs with scales of many –to-one correspondence.
Describes roles and responsibilities in developing and maintaining positive relationships.
Athletics Investigation
(Sample from larger body of work)
Not all activities would be differentiated but the following are some examples.
Create a series of 10 complicated maths problems for your maths group based on a mix of track or field scenarios and measurements.
(Product > Real Audience)

Research the school and world records of a particular track or field event.
Devise a graph to display your information effectively.
(Content > Study of People)
World records are getting faster/further. Why do you think this is so? Provide evidence for your conclusions.
(Process > Proof and Reasoning)

Arrange an interview with someone who coaches a sporting team to find what they think are the important factors for individual and group success. Decide on an interesting way to convey your findings to the class.
(Process > Freedom of Choice)

(Using Maker Model)
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