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Myths about Highly Able Students

There are many myths about gifted students. Some of these are:

  • Gifted students, because of their strengths, can learn on their own and need no guidance.
  • If students are not achieving academically, they cannot possibly be in possession of any mathematical talents.
  • Equal opportunity in education means the same curriculum at the same pace and employing the same pedagogy for all students.

"These beliefs must be dispelled. we know that gifted students who are not challenged and guided may lose interest, perfom poorly, and even discontinue their study of mathematics. we know that academic underachievement can be reversed and talented students identified among former underachievers. finally, equal opportunity is not synonymous with having the same experiences. Every child should be given maximum challenge, support, and guidance in the larning process, but the nature of these may be quite different from child to child." ("Empowering Teachers to Discover, Challenge, and Support Students," Carol Greenes, Maggie Mode) Additionally, mathematical promise cannot be equated either with school achievement or with performance on computational algorithms.

In"Serving the Needs of the Mathematically Promising," Linda Jensen Sheffield presented a continuum of mathematical understanding. All students fall on one place on the continuum (but do not necessarily stay there), with the more able students at the upper end.

Watch the MSDE video about the Top Ten Myths in Gifted Education.