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How are gifted students different from regular students and high-achieving students?
Gifted learners generally show characteristics that differ from their age peers in one or more area of function: cognitive, affective, physical, and intuitive. They also differ from each other as each gifted learner has unique patters of characteristics and interests. Differences commonly found between most gifted learners and their age peers that require differentiated curriculum are:
- Advanced comprehension and a faster pace of learning that can cause them to be at least 2 to 8 years ahead of the regular age-graded class in some areas;
- A need for complexity and intensity that these students often bring to an area of study, so that they are seldom challenged by the materials presented to their age group;
- A desire for depth shown through the ability to make connections, find unusual relationships, and move from facts to principles, theories, and generalizations; and
- Originality of expression through alternative and varied input and processes, inquiry, and self-directed learning.
Often high achievers are confused with students who are gifted. While there can be no certainty as to clear distinctions in every instance, gifted children usually exhibit the ability to generalize, to work comfortably with abstract ideas, and to synthesize diverse relationships that are too difficult for students of the same age who are not gifted. The high achiever generally functions better with knowledge- and comprehension-level learning that with abstract and open-ended material. Although high achievers earn good grades and accomplish much, they lack the intellectual range and diversity of the gifted. Some high achievers need only increased opportunity to develop giftedness; others become frustrated by more complex challenges.
Source: CA Association for the Gifted