Observe and interact with the child over a period of at least two weeks to determine if he/she possesses the following characteristics. If the student exhibits ten or more of the listed traits, including all that are asterisked, individual intelligence testing is recommended to establish whether he/she is a gifted underachiever.
- Poor test performance.
- Achieving at or below grade-level expectations in one or all the basic skill areas: reading, language arts, mathematics.
- Daily work frequently incomplete or poorly done.
- Superior comprehension and retention of concepts when interested.
- Vast gap between qualitative level of oral and written work.
- Exceptionally large repertoire of factual knowledge.
- Vitality of imagination: Creative.
- Persistent dissatisfaction with work accomplished, even in art.
- Seems to avoid trying new activities to prevent imperfect performance; Evidences perfectionism, self-criticism.
- Shows initiative in pursuing self-selected projects at home.
- Has a wide range of interests and possible special expertise in an area of investigation and research.
- Evidences low self-esteem in tendencies to withdraw or be aggressive in the classroom.
- Does not function comfortably or constructively in a group of any size.
- Shows acute sensitivity and perceptions related to self, others and life in general.
- Tends to set unrealistic self-expectations: goals too high or too low.
- Dislikes practice work or drill for memorization and mastery.
- Easilydistracted; unable to focus attention and concentrate efforts on tasks.
- Had an indifferent or negative attitude towards school.
- Resists teacher efforts to motivate or discipline behaviour in class.
- Has difficulty in peer relationships; maintains few friendships.
Joanne Whitmore (1980) Giftedness, Conflict and Underachievement. Allyn and Bacon.
Behaviour displayed by children and adults is a product of their experiences and learning. It has a meaning and function. Behaviour can be modified if we can modify their experiences and environment.