Understanding achievement motivation is relevant to giftedness because it plays an essential role in enabling intellectually gifted students to fulfill the promise of their exceptional abilities and in preventing their underachievement. Achievement motivation may be defined as the initiation, persistence, and direction of personal effort toward achievement goals. Contrary to popular opinion, not all gifted students are motivated to achieve in school. There is wide variation in the achievement motivation of gifted students. Furthermore, it is often taken for granted that gifted students will automatically do well in school because they learn quickly. Hence, lack of achievement motivation may go undetected because their academic work is acceptable, but closer inspection reveals they are underachieving for motivational reasons. Gifted underachievers may include those who are merely ...

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