Characteristics of Gifted Students​

Gifted or potentially gifted students usually differ from classmates on three key dimensions:

  1. the pace at which they learn

  2. the depth of their understanding

  3. the interests that they hold

Maker, C.J.,Curriculum Development for the Gifted, 1982.

The following is a list of characteristics typical of gifted children including positive and negative behaviors which may be exhibited. A child could exhibit both positive and negative behaviors of a characteristic depending on the environment. Also, many children exhibit these characteristics at various times. A child identified as gifted will exhibit many of the characteristics on a regular basis. The child needs to learn to modify negative behaviors.


Positive Behavior

Negative Behavior

learns rapidly/easily

memorizes and masters basic facts quickly

gets bored easily, resists drill, disturbs others

reads intensively

reads many books and uses library on own

neglects other responsibilities

advanced vocabulary

communicates ideas well

shows off, evokes peer resentment

retains a quantity of information

ready recall and responses

monopolizes discussion

long attention span

sticks with a task or project

resists class routine, dislikes interruptions

curious, has a variety of interests

asks questions, gets excited about ideas

goes on tangents, no follow-through

works independently

creates and invents beyond assigned tasks

refuses to work with others

alert and observant

recognizes problems

impolitely corrects adults

has a good sense of humor

able to laugh at self

plays cruel jokes or tricks on others

comprehends, recognizes relationships

able to solve social problems alone

interferes in the affairs of others

high academic achievement

does schoolwork well

brags, egotistical, impatient with others

fluent, verbal facility

forceful with words, numbers; leads peers in positive ways

leads others into negative behaviors


asserts self and ideas, has few friends, sense of own uniqueness

stubborn in beliefs

self motivated, self sufficient

requires minimum teacher direction or help

is overly aggressive, challenges authority


Excerpt from What to Expect When You're Raising a Gifted Child: A Handbook for Parents of Gifted Children,

published by the Ohio Association for Gifted Children.