Characteristics and Traits of Gifted Students
Gifted students frequently stick out. If you’re a parent, an instructor, or a student, you are most likely here because you have observed something unusual about a student, or, if you are that student, about yourself. Those who are unfamiliar with gifted education may believe that talented students stand out through their excellent grades or achievements. Many of us who deal with talented students, on the other hand, realize that they are unique for other reasons, such as their unusual sense of humor, their passion for questioning, or their reluctance to sit still in class and repeat arithmetic facts when they would rather be exploring the meaning of infinity. Looking for gifted characteristics in students can help parents, educators, and learners determine whether to seek IQ testing, acceleration, or just a better understanding of who these individuals are.
Giftedness is, at its foundation, a brain-based distinction that contributes to our colorful and neurodiverse world. Because of this neurological difference, highly talented adolescents follow a distinct intellectual, academic, and social-emotional development path than neurotypical individuals. These distinctions are discussed in length in “The Neuroscience of Giftedness,” a series of essays published by GRO, the Gifted Research and Outreach organization.
“Giftedness is a natural ability to both perceive and interpret the environment in sophisticated ways that deviate dramatically from age-expected norms,” says Dr. Jim Delisle, a respected leader in gifted education. More important, author emphasizes that giftedness is not always obvious just by glancing at a student’s achievements. When fighting for the highly brilliant child who seems ordinary, or even below average, in school, this is frequently a cause of conflict. Parents and educators frequently hear the same fallacies about talented studentsand must educate themselves about giftedness in order to better fulfill the needs of this demographic.
Highly talented pupils, like most people, are unique individuals with a wide range of abilities and interests. Some people succeed in numerous subjects, while others thrive in only one. Identification of giftedness is frequently based on a combination of gifted testing and more qualitative observations of gifted features and behaviors.
Characteristics most common among gifted students
- Capability to grasp content that is several grade levels beyond their peers’ age.
- Surprising emotional depth and compassion for someone so young
- Curiosity is a strong suit.
- Passionate about unusual hobbies and subjects
- Strange or sophisticated sense of humor
- Problem-solving creativity and imaginative expression
- Quickly absorbs information and requires few repeats
- Self-awareness, social awareness, and global awareness
The National Association for Gifted students provides a list of other gifted characteristics that parents may find useful. Of course, each gifted student is unique, and they may exhibit a combination of these characteristics, only two of them intensely, or none at all.
What about profoundly gifted students?
Individuals who are profoundly gifted score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ and achievement tests and have an exceptionally high level of intellectual prowess. Individuals that are extraordinarily gifted may exhibit the following characteristics:
- Rapid Comprehension: An enhanced capacity to acquire and digest information quickly, paired with a desire for ongoing mental stimulation; highly gifted students may operate at a different speed than neurotypical classmates, moving far ahead or halting to delve deeply into areas of interest.
- Trouble concentrating on things that are not cognitively difficult, such as repeated materials or rote chores; extraordinarily bright youngsters may require less repetition to master an idea or concept.
- A need to comprehend the “big picture” of what they are learning; they may ask endless “why” questions or preferring to study whole-to-part rather than component.
- Need for Precision: They have an appreciation for nuance and a need for precision in their thinking and expression; they may frequently respond to questions with “that depends…” and they may struggle with multiple choice assessments that ask them to make definitive decisions without extensive contextual background.
- Expectations are high: A propensity to hold oneself and others to high standards, which can manifest as perfectionism or a very defined sense of justice; this may provide difficulties when interpreting norms imposed by others or engaging with peers of the same age who do not share the same standards.
- Diverse Interests: A vivid imagination and niche interests may make connecting with same-age peers difficult; profoundly gifted students may seek out older students or adults who share their interests, or they may connect with younger students who are flexible in their thinking and engage in imaginative pursuits.
Frequently, extraordinarily brilliant young individuals are overlooked and do not receive a suitably rigorous education. According to research, this can lead to underachievement or even dropping out of school; studies reveal that 40% of all bright students may be underachievers. The Davidson Institute works directly with families to assist these young, brilliant students get prominence in the public discussion about giftedness.