Psychologists studied 5,000 genius kids for 45 years —here are their 6 key takeaways

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steve jobs

Follow thousands of super-bright kids for four and a half decades and you learn a thing or two about how to raise a high-achiever.

One of the biggest takeaways: Even kids with genius-level IQs need teachers to help them reach their full potential.

Since it began in 1971, the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) has tracked 5,000 of the smartest the children in America — the top 1%, 0.1%, and even 0.01% of all students. It is the longest-running study of gifted children in history.

Here’s what the study found.

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The top 1%, 0.1%, and 0.01% of kids lead exceptional lives.

SMPY (pronounced simpy) initially tested kids for intelligence using the SAT, university entrance exams, and other IQ tests,. Researchers later began looking at additional factors like college enrollment and career paths later in life.

What they found is the most gifted kids went on to earn doctorates, graduate degrees, and hold patents at rates far above less-gifted children. Most sit among the top 5% of income earners.

"Whether we like it or not, these people really do control our society," Jonathan Wai, psychologist at the Duke University Talent Identification Program, recently told Nature.

Genius kids don’t get enough attention.

The trouble is that genius kids often receive too little attention from their teachers, who may be inclined to write bright students off as having already met their potential.

When SMPY researchers looked at how much attention teachers gave to these gifted children, they found the overwhelming majority of class time was spent helping low-achieving students get to the middle.

SMPY suggests that teachers should avoid teaching a one-size-fits-all curriculum, and instead focus on doing the best they can to create individual lesson plans for students.

 

Skipping a grade works.

To help kids reach their potential, teachers and parents should consider moving a gifted child up a grade, SMPY suggests.

When researchers compared a control group of gifted students who didn’t skip a grade to those who did, the grade-skippers were 60% more likely to earn patents and doctorates and more than twice as likely to get a Ph.D. in a field related to science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM).

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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