In the Gifted Child

Elizabeth Watson
EDUC 471
Interest Research Project

Defining Underachievement

Underachievement is defined as a discrepancy between potential and performance/achievement. Gifted underachievers, while defined as gifted and talented, often do not perform at the level of which they are capable. While underachievers are not uncommon, it is difficult to generalize characteristics of underachievers as an entity.

There are, however, two types of underachievers: Nonproducers and Selective producers. Nonproducers are the gifted underachievers that perform exceedingly well on assessments and standardized testing, but refuse to do daily in-class assignments and homework. Selective producers know their capabilities and generally enjoy learning, but will only work on projects or assignments that are of interest to them.

The purpose of this flyer is to raise awareness about underachievement in the gifted population. I will outline the differences in achievers and underachievers, the different causes of underachievement, and potential social and emotional risk factors of gifted underachievers. Finally, I will provide classroom recommendations for what teachers and parents can do to reverse underachievement in their gifted students.

Reversing Underachievement

By changing our own mindset of what it means to be gifted, and modifying our instructional practice, it is possible to reverse underachievement amongst gifted learners. It could also change their mindsets, as well. Below you will see different ways to reverse underachievement.