Academically-gifted students are doing just fine across Europe.

Academically-gifted students are doing just fine across

PISA 2012 data shows no differences between normative and academically-gifted students for sense of belonging in the class, student–teacher relations or attitudes toward school.
Outcomes of research by dr. Brian Godor (Erasmus University) and
Antonia Szymanski, published in High Ability Studies : Sense of belonging or feeling marginalized? Using PISA 2012 to assess the state of academically gifted

There are two competing stereotypes of gifted students: harmony theory (gifted students are well adjusted and successful in life) and disharmony theory (giftedness forms a threat to a harmonious development). In this context, the PISA 2012 data were used to explore middle-school students’ experiences in terms of sense of belonging, student–teacher relations and attitudes toward school concerning learning activities/outcomes. Fifteen-year-old students from 13 European countries were selected for this data-set (normative = 79,550, gifted = 1956).

There were no significant differences for more than half of the comparisons in this study. Moreover, for 40% of the comparisons, academically-gifted students reported higher levels for sense of belonging, student–teacher relations and attitudes toward school. The evidence presented in this study supports the existence of harmony theory. More specifically, the vast majority of gifted students in this study reported equal or higher level of belonging.

This research contributes to the academic literature on engagement and giftedness by employing a large data-set that contains 13 EU Countries to empirically test for harmony or disharmony theory in academically gifted students.  Moreover, the use of intra-country comparisons between academically gifted and normative students allows for the elimination of any potential bias due to specific country differences (i.e. educational and/or cultural). In other words, the presented differences allow for a more in-depth review of how each country’s education is experienced between these two types of students.

Sense of belonging or feeling marginalized? Using PISA 2012 to assess the state of academically gifted students’ |  Brian Godor (EUR) and Antonia Szymanski (Western Kentucky Uni)
In: High Ability Studies, April 2017

More information

Dr. Brian Godor, Department of Psychology, Education and Child Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences | godor@fsw.eur.nl