Giftedness—high intellectual ability—is part of the overall continuum of intelligence within the human population. Just as there are degrees of slow learning—lower learning abilities—the range of abilities within the gifted population is considerable. Inborn abilities drive interests and are especially evident in young children whose environment is flexible and responsive to their needs. When one examines the early interests and behaviors of a child, insight is gained into both the level and the profile of intellectual gifts. This entry describes the levels of giftedness theory and implications for bright students.

Deborah L. Ruf developed levels of giftedness theory to explain the differences that she observed in children at different ability levels. Although research remains to be done to confirm the characteristics at each level, evidence from ...

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