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What to do with a genius?

by Andrew Maisel
image of Albert Einstein

Your child is truly a math wizard. You have her tested, and she scores in the top one percent, or higher. Her math teacher suggests possibly skipping a grade, or more. But you worry about lost opportunities to develop social skills, or being labeled a nerd, or worse.

Or perhaps your school doesn't believe in tracking gifted students, preferring to mainstream everyone until sometime in junior high, or even high school. What should you do?

Skip a grade, get a tutor, enroll in a local junior college, sign up for online college courses are all possible options. Or do nothing, knowing your precocious wizard will eventually get to take those higher level classes. What to do?

Along comes an ongoing 45 year study, tracking exceptional children over time. Their essential finding? Those students given the opportunity to skip a grade, were 60% more likely to earn doctorates or patents, and more than twice as likely to get a PhD in a STEM field, than similarly smart children who didn't.

Wow.

The key seems to be access to challenging material. Students with high ability who were given acccess to more precollege academic opportunites in STEM, published more papers, were awarded more patents, and achieved higer-level careers than equally gifted peers who didn't have the same opportunities.

Bottom-line: Nurture your academically gifted child!



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