Today's article is The Truth About Gifted Versus High Achieving Students. This article is a really interesting one. The writer, Chris Croll, makes some very compelling points and I agree with many of her thoughts. The one point we differ on is that Chris makes a very clear distinction between gifted students and high achieving students; her post implies that there is very little overlap between the two. I'm not so sure about this.
I have been mulling this over since reading the article and wonder whether this calls for a visual response. Since I am the only member of my whanāu to have no artistic ability whatsoever, I'm turning to my trusty friend, Canva.
I have drawn three diagrams which might help me to think more clearly. These diagrams are truly primitive but hopefully, you get the gist!
1. We know not all gifted kids are achieving highly but are ALL high achievers actually gifted? Are high achievers simply a smaller subset of gifted students?
2. Or is it possible that some high achievers are not gifted at all? Are they simply kids who have learned to "play the game" of school and have mastered it, meaning they are achieving well across the board? If that's the case, go them, I say!
3. Or does the answer lie somewhere in the middle? Are there some high achievers who are gifted and some who are not?
(I apologise profusely for being unable to work out how to colour the overlapping piece an orangey shade! This is really bugging me but for the sake of getting this posted, I'm going to let it go!)
In recent years, my thinking has started to become more in line with the first diagram (all high achievers are gifted) whereas before it was probably most like the third (some high achievers are gifted but not all.) I'm not thinking of high achievers as those good, solid students who maintain good grades with a lot of effort but rather the students who consistently achieve at a very high level across the board. Isn't it possible that all these very high achieving students are gifted?
I wonder if it really matters for the high achievers that we define them? I mean, if they are working and achieving at such a high level and we are challenging them and keeping them engaged, then yay! Happy times!
However, the kids this really does matter for are the gifted kids who are not achieving, those who are disengaged, not feeling challenged or motivated and who are really left feeling miserable in our current system. These are the ones we owe it to to get it right.
This blogpost really was a stream of consciousness and as always, I could, of course, be convinced otherwise so feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.