Underachievement among intellectually gifted children would appear to be an oxymoron, yet it is reasonably common to find gifted students not working up to their abilities in school. A 1983 report prepared by the National Commission on Excellence in Education pronounced that fully half of gifted children were underachieving. Although the report did not specify how the percentage was calculated, educators agree that underachievement among highly capable children is a common phenomenon, which this entry discusses.


Definitions of underachievement involve discrepancies between abilities and achievement, but there are multiple approaches to calculating these discrepancies. Some gifted students are not provided with opportunities to work to their abilities, but others choose not to work to their abilities even when they are given opportunities. When students choose not ...

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