Student Success Efforts Not a Priority for High Achieving Students

Student achievement is high on the priority list, but as more educators focus on helping underachieving students progress, overachieving students are being forgotten.

In Friday’s blog, I discussed how teaching girls to pursue STEM careers, where they make up a small fraction of STEM employees, will help address our country’s innovation crisis. Raising student achievement levels also shares this long-term goal. Student achievement isn’t just a short-term concern, like preparing students to pass tests, stay in school, and get to graduation day. Improving student achievement levels is a long-term goal, like advancing more students who are prepared to succeed in college, work, and life.

According to the article Don’t Leave Gifted Students Behind, “ The most-talented students are most likely to bring this nation out of the economic basement, create new inventions, cure deadly diseases, and, yes, restore the United States to its former place as the international leader in innovation and scholarship.”

U.S. students, in general, are behind their international peers. Our top students are also behind those from other parts of the world. Only 1.9 percent of U.S. students scored in the 95th percentile on the PISA assessment’s highest proficiency level, which fell below the 3 percent of the total sample of students from other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development-member nations, and significantly below South Korea (7.8 percent) and Shanghai (26.6 percent), according to the article.

Identifying that there is a problem in the innovation pipeline isn’t enough. What can educators do in the classroom to support over achieving kids? What can parents do at home to challenge gifted and talented students? What activities can students get involved in to spark a desire to innovate?



“Don’t Leave Gifted Students Behind: High achievers are essential to global competition,”  Frances R. Spielhagen. 21 February 2012. Education Week. Accessed on 27 February 2012.

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