Emerick, L. J. (1992). Academic underachievement among the gifted: Students' perceptions of factors that reverse the pattern. Gifted Child Quarterly, 36 (3), 140-146.
Underachievement among the gifted has been a focus of research, for over 35 years. With few exceptions, studies of interventions for gifted underachievers have demonstrated only limited success. This study investigated factors which had influenced the reversal of the underachievement pattern in 10 gifted students, ages 14 to 20, who moved from chronic underachievement to academic success. Results indicated six factors were influential in reversing poor school performance. There was evidence that some gifted underachievers may respond well to interventions incorporating educational modifications which focus on individual strengths and interests.
Academic underachievement has been a persistent area of concern for educators, parents, and students for at least the past 35 years. The gifted underachiever has been described as "one of the greatest social wastes of our culture" (Gowan, 1955, p. 247). Beyond the social cost, however, there are personal wastes as well -- opportunities for advanced educational experiences and personal development are thwarted by academic underachievement. Today, there is no problem more perplexing or frustrating than the situation in which a bright child cannot or will not perform at an academic level commensurate with his or her intellectual ability.
The gifted child who is an academic underachiever may suffer from more than poor grades and the disapproval of parents and teachers. Unfortunately, if performance in school is deemed inadequate, the child may also perceive himself or herself as inadequate in other kinds of learning experiences. As these unpleasant experiences continue, a negative attitude toward school, self, and learning in general may result, and poor motivation habits may develop (Covington, 1984). According to Bloom (1977), "There is...