Gifted Achievers and Gifted Underachievers: The Impact of Learning Style Preferences in the Classroom

By Rayneri, Letty J.; Gerber, Brian L. et al. | Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, Summer 2003 | Go to article overview

Gifted Achievers and Gifted Underachievers: The Impact of Learning Style Preferences in the Classroom


Rayneri, Letty J., Gerber, Brian L., Wiley, Larry P., Journal of Secondary Gifted Education


This article focuses on the learning style preferences of achieving and underachieving gifted middle school students. Learning style was determined through administration of the Learning Style Inventory (LSI). Both groups of participants revealed several learning style preferences that were quite similar. However, examination of LSI profiles revealed some differences between achievers and underachievers in preferences for quiet or sound, flexibility or structure in assignments, and level of need for mobility. Many low achievers showed a strong need for tactile and kinesthetic modalities; intake of food, drinks, or both; sound in the learning environment; informal seating design; and dim lighting. The low achievers did nor perceive themselves to be persistent, and scores revealed that they needed structure in assignments. Persistence seemed to be a key to success for the achieving learners in this study since they were able to maintain high academic performance in all content areas. Over half of the low achiev ers, on the other hand, did not judge themselves to be successful at task completion.

**********

Underachievement by America's children is a frustrating phenomenon for both educators and parents. However, underachievement seems especially troubling when it is manifested by our brightest students--the gifted. Underachievement by this group has been described as one of the greatest social wastes of our culture" (Gowan, 1955, p. 247). While there is no clear picture of the magnitude of the problem, some experts estimate that 15-40% of gifted students are not living up to their potential or are "at risk" of school failure (Seeley, 1993).

There is no universally accepted definition for underachievement. When attempting to discuss the phenomenon, some researchers focus on standardized instruments alone to define it (Supplee, 1990), whereas others place more emphasis on student actions in the classroom (Baum, Renzulli, & Hebert, 1995). However, most researchers agree that underachievement is a discrepancy between expected performance based on some standardized measure of ability and actual performance (Emerick, 1992; Peterson & Colangelo, 1996; Whitmore, 1980).

When does underachievement begin? Some studies (e.g., Lupart & Pyrut, 1996; Peterson & Colangelo, 1996) have found that academic vulnerability is most prevalent in grades 7-9, with seventh grade showing the greatest number of underachievers. For some underachievers, this unproductive behavior begins in late elementary school (Baker, Bridges, & Evans, 1998) and continues into the middle grades.

What causes these bright students to fall short of reaching their potential? Baker, Bridges, and Evans (1998) found that contributing factors included family, environment, school, and the individual. Fehrenbach (1993) concluded that, due to inflexible curricula and lack of acceleration opportunities, gifted learners are not being involved in meaningful school experiences that would stimulate achievement. Lack of teacher training in gifted education is also a major factor contributing to underachievement since awareness of the needs and characteristics of the gifted is essential if teachers are to provide appropriate curricular accommodations (Davis & Rimm, 1998; Ford, 1996). Other researchers have noted that underachievement is linked to a mismatch between the learning styles of high-ability students and the instructional approaches used in the classroom (Baum, Renzulli, & Hebert, 1995; Redding, 1990; Whitmore, 1986).

One's learning style was defined by Dunn and Dunn (1993) as "the way in which each learner begins to concentrate on, process, and retain new and difficult information" (p. 2). They hypothesized that the interaction of various environmental factors affects each person differently as he or she learns. Several studies have suggested that underachieving students make significant gains in classroom performance when their learning style preferences are accommodated (Andrews, 1990; Gadwa & Griggs, 1985; Klavas, 1993). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Gifted Achievers and Gifted Underachievers: The Impact of Learning Style Preferences in the Classroom
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.