Characteristics of Gifted Children

A Bright Child/A High Achiever A Gifted Learner A Creative Thinker
Knows/remembers the answersPoses unforeseen questionsSees exceptions
Is interestedIs (highly) curiousWonders
Is attentiveIs selectively mentally engagedDaydreams; may seem off task
Has good advanced ideasHas wild, silly ideas

Generates complex, abstract ideas

Overflows with ideas, many of which will never be developed
Works hard to achieveKnows without working hard

Plays around yet tests well

Plays with ideas and concepts
Answer the questions in detailPonders with depth and multiple perspectives Discusses in detail, elaboratesInjects new possibilities
Performs at the top of the groupIs beyond the groupIs in own group
Listens and responds with interest and opinionsExhibits feelings and opinions from multiple perspectivesShares bizarre, sometimes conflicting opinions
Learns with easeAlready knowsQuestions: What if
Needs 6 to 8 repetitions to masterNeeds 1 to 3 repetitions to masterQuestions the need for mastery
Understands ideas Comprehends at a high levelComprehends in-depth, complex ideas Constructs abstractionsOverflows with ideas–many of which will never be developed
Enjoys the company of age peersPrefers the company of intellectual peers or adultsPrefers the company of creative peers but often works alone
Understands complex, abstract humorCreates complex, abstract humorRelishes wild, off-the-wall humor
Grasps the meaningInfers and connects conceptsMakes mental leaps: Aha!
Completes assignments on timeInitiates projects and extensions of assignmentsInitiates more projects that will ever be completed
Is receptiveIs intenseIs independent and unconventional
Is accurate and completeIs original and continually developingIs original and continually developing
Enjoys school oftenEnjoys self-directed learningEnjoys creating
Absorbs informationManipulates informationImprovises
Is a technician with expertise in a fieldIs an expert (inventor) who abstracts beyond the fieldIs an inventor and idea generator
Memorizes wellGuesses and infers wellCreates and brainstorms well
Is highly alert and observantAnticipates and relates observationsIs intuitive
Is pleased with own learningIs self-criticalIs never finished with possibilities
Gets A’sMay not be motivated by gradesMay not be motivated by grades
Absorbs information

Is able

Manipulates information

Is intellectual


Is idiosyncratic

Adapted from the “Bright Child” and “Gifted Learner” comparison chart by Janice Szabos in Challenge Magazine, 1989, Issue 34 and “High Achiever, Gifted Learner, Creative Thinker” by Bertie Kingore at

NOTICE: Gifted Learners Exhibit Some of These Traits, Rarely All of Them. ~ Mary Ruth Coleman