Characteristics of Gifted Children

A Bright Child/A High Achiever A Gifted Learner A Creative Thinker
Knows/remembers the answers Poses unforeseen questions Sees exceptions
Is interested Is (highly) curious Wonders
Is attentive Is selectively mentally engaged Daydreams; may seem off task
Has good advanced ideas Has wild, silly ideas

Generates complex, abstract ideas

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

Plays around yet tests well

Plays with ideas and concepts
Answer the questions in detail Ponders with depth and multiple perspectives Discusses in detail, elaborates Injects new possibilities
Performs at the top of the group Is beyond the group Is in own group
Listens and responds with interest and opinions Exhibits feelings and opinions from multiple perspectives Shares bizarre, sometimes conflicting opinions
Learns with ease Already knows Questions: What if
Needs 6 to 8 repetitions to master Needs 1 to 3 repetitions to master Questions the need for mastery
Understands ideas Comprehends at a high level Comprehends in-depth, complex ideas Constructs abstractions Overflows with ideas–many of which will never be developed
Enjoys the company of age peers Prefers the company of intellectual peers or adults Prefers the company of creative peers but often works alone
Understands complex, abstract humor Creates complex, abstract humor Relishes wild, off-the-wall humor
Grasps the meaning Infers and connects concepts Makes mental leaps: Aha!
Completes assignments on time Initiates projects and extensions of assignments Initiates more projects that will ever be completed
Is receptive Is intense Is independent and unconventional
Is accurate and complete Is original and continually developing Is original and continually developing
Enjoys school often Enjoys self-directed learning Enjoys creating
Absorbs information Manipulates information Improvises
Is a technician with expertise in a field Is an expert (inventor) who abstracts beyond the field Is an inventor and idea generator
Memorizes well Guesses and infers well Creates and brainstorms well
Is highly alert and observant Anticipates and relates observations Is intuitive
Is pleased with own learning Is self-critical Is never finished with possibilities
Gets A’s May not be motivated by grades May 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