By: Cali StraussBack to Home Page
Gifted Females
Fahlman, S. A. (2004). Perceptions of giftedness among gifted females in emerging adulthood. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 1(4), 285-306.
This article explains how little research had been done on gifted females in the emerging adulthood range (age 18-25) prior to this study. Researchers interviewed six gifted females in this age range and discovered that the six women did not perceive themselves as gifted. Instead, they just thought of themselves as hard workers. The author postulates that this could be one reason why may women shy away from math and science fields—they do not feel that they are gifted enough to perform at high levels in difficult careers.
This article was very informative because I have found that many of my gifted female students do not realize they are gifted as well. They are often shy and reserved and ask for constant feedback to make sure they are completing their work correctly. I see the need to counsel these gifted female students from an early age to reinforce self-confidence, especially in regards to their talents.

Hay, C. A., & Bakken, L. (1991). Gifted sixth-grade girls: Similarities and differences in attitude among gifted girls, non-gifted peers, and their mothers. Roeper Review, 13(3), 158-160.
Research shows that gifted girls look up to their mothers and tend to have similar views of women’s roles in society. Gifted girls lean towards contemporary jobs whereas non–gifted girls pick more traditional careers. Problems can arise when gifted girls do not explore their talents in high school, which can close many academic doors later on in life.
This article reminds me how important family life is in the development of a child. Gifted students need to be placed in supportive environments in order to thrive in school. Parents of gifted children should be reminded to encourage their children to explore their giftedness and try new things. Parents and schools must work together to ensure gifted students are being appropriately counseled and challenged.

Hebert, T. P., Long, L. A., & Speirs Neumeister, K. L. (2001). Using biography to counsel gifted young women. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 12(2), 62-79.
Gifted females face many obstacles including gender role expectations, underachievement, and relationship problems. The authors of this article discuss how bibliotherapy can be used to address these issues among gifted female adolescents. Gifted females tend to enjoy reading and because of their sensitivity, they often relate to the female characters in the books they read. The authors offer many book suggestions for classroom use to help gifted females.
This article is very helpful for educators because it offers practical advice on how to successfully implement bibliotherapy in the classroom. It also offers book ideas that cover a variety of problems gifted females may encounter.

Klein, A. G., & Zehms, D. (1996). Self-concept and gifted girls: A cross sectional study of intellectually gifted females in grades 3, 5, 8. Roeper Review, 19(1), 30-34.
This article chronicles the study of 134 gifted females. The results indicate that the self-concept of gifted girls declines from third grade to eigth grade. Eigth grade girls have a stronger negative sense of self, school status and popularity than non-gifted girls of the same age. Interestingly, Leta Hollingworth’s research from the 1940’s showed similar results in regard to the self-concept of gifted girls.
This article shows how important it is for educators and parents to recognize the emotional feelings of gifted girls and address them in a positive way. They need female role models as well as reassurance that they can break gender boundaries and sex role stereotyping. If these problems are not properly addressed, they can lead to bigger problems such as depression and even suicide.

McCormick, M. E., & Wolf, J. S. (1993). Intervention programs for gifted girls. Roeper Review, 16(2), 85-88.
Gifted females run the risk of academic underachievement, especially in the math and science areas, when they hit adolescence. Many females are conflicted with traditional gender role identity and relationship related problems at this age. McCormick and Wolf offer many program suggestions such as Project REACH, Expanding Your Horizons and EQUALS to combat this underachievement.
I especially liked the EQUALS program because it was designed as an in-service program for teachers. It focuses on changing the attitude of educators and finding ways for them to increase math and science confidence in their classrooms.

Piirto, J. (1991). Why are there so few? (Creative women: Visual artists, mathematician, musicians). Roeper Review, 13(3), 142-147.
This article suggests many reasons why there are fewer gifted female artists, mathematicians and musicians than male ones. Artists and musicians must devote an extraordinary amount of time to their artwork, often live in poverty, and must be very independent. These traits are hard for women to fulfill if they want to pursue a family life as well. The author only suggested societal differences as reasons why there are fewer female mathematicians and scientists—women seem to shy away from these classes and careers beginning in high school.
While I found the results of this article to be very interesting, I cannot help but wonder what the future generation of students will hold. This article was written in 1991, and while gender bias still exists today, many females are choosing more male dominated careers, which could have a great influence on the amount of female artists, mathematicians and musicians in the future.

Reis, S. M. (2002). Internal barriers, personal issues, and decisions faced by gifted and talented females. Gifted Child Today, 25(1), 14-28.
This article explains how many gifted females have big career aspirations when they are young. Once they get to college, they begin to doubt that they can have a successful career and instead focus on becoming devoted wives and mothers. Because of this dilemma, many gifted females change their career paths in college and opt to earn more female-friendly careers that allow them to raise a family. Studies of gifted females show that many of them quit their jobs to raise families during their 20s and 30s, which is the optimal age for career advancement.
This article was very eye-opening to me because I know so many gifted females who have changed their career paths in order to have families. Reis suggests that gifted women should pursue careers that will help them develop their potential and nurture their talents. However, this may still prove to be challenging if women value family and children first.

Ryan, J. J. (1999). Behind the mask: Exploring the need for specialized counseling for gifted females. Gifted Child Today Magazine, 22(5), 14-17.
Gifted females are at a higher risk for developing depression and eating disorders than their non-gifted female classmates. Psychologist attribute this to gifted females need to be perfect—to look perfect, act perfect, have perfect grades and generally to conform. Gifted girls often feel alienated and misunderstood as they try to find their own unique place in society. Unfortunately, very few school counselors understand and address these needs with gifted girls.
The research in this article reiterates how important it is for gifted females to receive counseling to help deal with emotional issues. So many people assume that gifted youth will “figure it out on their own,” but this can have detrimental effects, including severe depression and suicide.

Vanderbrook, C. M. (2006). Intellectually gifted females and their perspectives of lived experience in the AP and IB programs. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 17(3), 133-148.
In this article, researchers followed and interviewed gifted female students in AP and IB high school programs. Through interviews with these students, researchers concluded that gifted females fare well in AP and IB programs because they are able to socially interact with other gifted females. This helps alleviate feelings of isolation that many gifted females encounter. The only negative of AP and IB programs researchers found was that counseling in social, emotional or career development was not a part of the program.
I found the research on AP and IB programs to be quite comforting because so many high schools are using these programs to challenge gifted students. While I do think that AP and IB classes are a great way to reach gifted learners, these students still need significant career counseling. The gifted females in this article understood the importance of taking challenging coursework. However, they did not understand which classes would lead to particular careers or know what careers they were interested in. I believe that lack of career counseling might be one reason why so many adults are dissatisfied with their career choices.

Whatley, A. (1998). Gifted women and teaching: A compatible choice? Roeper Review, 21(2), 117-124.
April Whatley explores why the teaching profession has become devalued in our society. A disproportionate number of educators are females, which has caused education to labeled as a “female” profession. The Feminism Movement has pushed gifted women into many traditional male professions, which has caused the teaching field to be further devalued. Gifted women are no longer being persuaded into careers in education. For those gifted women who do decide to become teachers, they must face constant ridicule and will often be told, “You are too smart to be a teacher!”
April Whatley sheds light on a weighty dilemma in education today. Gifted females, as well as gifted males, are no longer encouraged to become teachers due to low salaries and lack of respect. This problem has huge implications for the education of students today. If we want our students to get the best education, we need to find ways to recruit gifted teachers and increase respect for the field of education.

Gifted Males
Alvino, J. (1991). An investigation into the needs of gifted boys. Roeper Review, 13(4), 174-180.
According to the author, the problems of gifted males have gone unnoticed as research shifts towards gifted females and the Feminist Movement. Gifted males are often stuck with traditional gender stereotypes. Gifted males have a difficult time adjusting in schools because they are seen as smart and not athletic. They are encouraged to pursue sports and “male” talents. They are discouraged from exploring dance, music, or art because those are seen as female talents. On the other hand, females are encouraged to pursue traditional roles as well as male roles. It is socially acceptable for females to be “tomboys,” but it frowned upon when boys are seen as “sissies.” This has led to confusion and frustration among gifted males.
This article showed me how important it is for teachers to recognize the plights that gifted males must endure. Teachers cannot assume gifted males are more adaptable just because we live in a male-dominated world. Our culture is changing and we cannot leave gifted males behind.

Bonner, F. A., & Jennings, M. (2007). Never too young to lead: Gifted African American males in elementary school. Gifted Child Today, 30(2), 30-36.
African American males are underrepresented in gifted education because they are often overlooked at the elementary level when most identification for gifted programing occurs. Many students are overlooked because their test scores may not be high enough due to cultural differences. One way to combat this problem is to help elementary-aged African American males develop leadership abilities. Teachers are urged to bring in community members, historically African American Greek letter organizations, and African American leadership groups. These groups can help show gifted males how to set goals both academically and personally.
This article helped me to see how important it is to recognize leadership ability as an attribute when identifying students for gifted programs. Many African American males need strong mentors to help them develop and recognize the abilities that they possess. When these students are recognized as leaders, their other talents will shine. Elementary schools need to recognize this need for leadership development and set up programs that nurture these skills.

Cavazos-Kottke, S. (2006 ). Five readers browsing: The reading interests of talented middle school boys. Gifted Child Quarterly, 50(2), 132-147.
In this study, five gifted middle school boys browsed a bookstore and picked out books they would like to read. The boys were interested in science fiction, non-fiction and literature that is connected to other media products (ex: gaming books, online comics, etc.). Many teachers dismiss these genres of reading because they can be seen as “light” reading instead of dense novels.
I found this article very helpful in guiding my reading workshop lessons. All students, especially boys, need to be encouraged to read books that interest them, not just books that the teacher picks out. Gifted education emphasizes letting students explore subjects that interest them. By allowing reading choice in language arts lessons, gifted males will be able to explore and research topics that interest them.

Hargreaves, M., Homer, M., & Swinnerton, B. (2008). A comparison of performance and attitudes in mathematics amongst the “gifted.” Are boys better at mathematics or do they just think they are? Assessment in Education: Principals, Policy & Practice, 15(1), 19-38.
Researchers in England compared the results of the recent International Mathematics Report and discovered that males do not always outperform females in mathematics. In most countries, both genders performed around the same level for the nine-year-old age group. If one gender outperformed another, it was not by a significant amount. Discrepancies did not start to occur until later, when males stared to outperform females more often. Researchers think this could be because females have low self-confidence in their mathematical abilities even though they perform at high levels. On the other hand, males have very high self-confidence in their math abilities. There is also a stereotype that males are better at math than females, and many females begin to listen and conform to this stereotype as they get older. This causes more males to continue studies and careers in mathematics than females.
This article is important because it demonstrates that gifted females can be just as successful in mathematics courses as gifted males as long as they receive proper encouragement and direction. Teachers should make sure to focus on gifted females and motivate them to pursue upper level math courses.

Hebert, T. P., Pagnani, A. R., & Hammond, D. R. (2009). An examination of paternal influence on high-achieving gifted males. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 33(2), 241-274.
This article stresses the importance of strong father-son relationships among gifted males. Ten historically eminent males and their fathers were studied. According to the research, several themes were found among these gifted males and their fathers: unconditional belief in son, strong work ethic, encouragement and guidance, high expectations, pride in son’s accomplishments and mutual respect.
This article forces educators and counselors to stress the important roles that fathers must play in a child’s life. In the classroom, teachers can also help guide gifted males by encouraging the same themes that the authors suggested. For example, teachers can show pride in students’ work and encourage them to try new things.
This article also brought an important question to light regarding the school in which I teach: What about gifted males who do not have strong father figures around? Educators must work to help find male mentors and role models for these gifted males to look up to in order for them to reach their full potential.

Hebert, T. P., & Pagnani, A. R. (2010). Engaging gifted boys in new literacies. Gifted Child Today, 33(3), 36-45.
Hebert and Pagnani explain a problem that plagues schools across the nation—How do educators get talented boys to read? Research shows that girls read a significantly larger number of books than boys each year, which accounts for the disparity in language arts and reading test scores. Researchers base this problem on the language arts programs of today, which tend to focus on “female” literature. Most books that are required reading in language arts today include fantasy with lots of dialogue and emotion, which is geared more towards females. Boys tend to enjoy more factual information books, action books, science fiction books and war books.
This article offers many wonderful ways to help address this problem in the classroom. Teachers must adapt and find ways to incorporate digital technologies in the classroom through blogs, podcasts, and online reading. This article made me realize how important it is for primary teachers to value all genres of reading and get boys interested in reading from an early age. I will keep this in mind when I set up my classroom library next year.

Hebert , T. P., & Schreiber, C. A. (2010). An examination of selective achievement in gifted males. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 33(4), 570-605.
In this article, researchers followed two gifted male underachievers. These two students were actually “selective underachievers.” This means they were highly successful in subjects that interested them but refused to attend class or turn in assignments in classes they were not interested in even though they were intelligently capable. Through the research project, researchers interviewed students to get a better understanding of why these males were underachievers.
This article helped me to see the importance of communicating with gifted underachievers in my classroom. Teachers and parents should not argue with underachievers, rather they should find ways to show students the long term effects of their underachievement. For example, teachers could show students college entrance qualifications to explain how it is important to have good grades in all subjects, not just the subjects that they deem interesting.

Heydt, S. (2004). Dear diary: Don’t be alarmed…I’m a boy. Gifted Child Today, 27(3), 16-25.
Scott Heydt explains the psychological and emotional issues that boys, especially gifted boys, face today. Gifted males are more emotional and sensitive than their non-gifted peers, which is often seen by others as feminine or “girlie.” Gifted males become the object of ridicule when they are seen as sensitive instead of athletic. Many schools are not doing an adequate job of addressing the emotional needs of gifted boys. Scott Heydt offers journaling as a way to combat this problem. Gifted males can use journaling as a way to explore their emotions, perfectionism, depression, and over-excitability. Over the years, research has shown how beneficial journaling can be and is often used in therapy situations.
I found this article to be very interesting, yet could prove challenging to successfully implement. I foresee many gifted males shying away from journaling because it would be seen as “girlie” or “uncool.” Many gifted males try so hard to fit in that they might avoid anything that would cause them to stand out even more. The best way to make this work would be to introduce students to journaling at a very early age, possibly in elementary school. This way, gifted males and non-gifted males would be accustomed to journaling as way to explore their emotions. Hopefully, this would help to defuse the gender barriers surrounding journaling.

Kline, B. E., & Short, E. B. (1991). Changes in emotional resilience: Gifted adolescent boys. Roeper Review, 13(4), 184-187.
This study reveals that gifted adolescent boys tend to have more emotional and social issues than gifted females. Gifted males must deal with peer pressure, depression and feelings of not belonging. As gifted males enter high school, many of these feeling of depression are pushed aside as they focus their attention on career goals. However, these males still lack social and emotional intimacy due to a lack of peer relationships. Gifted females on the other hand tend to focus on developing peer relationships, and thus have better social and emotional relationships with others.
This article reiterated what we learned in class about gifted students suffering from emotional issues because of their heightened sensitivity. Educators and counselors must pay careful attention to gifted males, and must watch for and help deal with feelings of depression.

Wolfle, J. A. (1991). Underachieving gifted males: Are we missing the boat? Roeper Review, 13(4), 181-184.
In this article, Jane Wolfle explores why gifted males are often underachievers. Her research indicates that most underachieving gifted males have poor social skills. When they are in elementary school, they find time to sit quietly and read or explore subjects that interest them instead of interacting with other students. Teachers often leave these students alone because they are not disrupting the class. However, this can lead to problems in high school because these gifted males do not learn the social skills and coping abilities they need in order to be successful in high school and beyond, which can lead to underachievement.
Wolfle encourages educators and parents to help gifted males learn coping and social skills at an early age. They need more support and guidance on how to interact with peers, which will help them as they grow. I found this to be especially important at my school because so many children spend a great deal of time playing video games or communicating on the computer instead of interacting in sports or group games outside. As an elementary school teacher, I must help model how to interact with peers and provide lots of opportunities for group work and interactive learning games to develop these skills among all of my students, especially my gifted male students.

Gender Issues
Freeman, J. (2004). Cultural influences on gifted gender achievement. High Ability Studies, 15(1), 7-23.
According to recent studies, females in British schools are now achieving more highly than males. In fact, girls are now taking the lead in 12 of the 17 university fields in Great Britain. While this cultural phenomenon seems to only be taking place in Britain, there are several reasons why females are achieving at such high levels. One main reason is that British schools offer many same-sex classes where girls can focus on open-ended assignments and tasks. British researchers have found that females tend to perform better on these types of tasks rather than tasks that require ambiguity or memorizing and recalling facts.
This article offers great insight into British gifted education. Because most gifted research relates strictly to American education, it is helpful for educators to learn about programs that are successful in other countries.

Jacobs, J. E., & Weisz, V. (1994). Gender sterotypes: Implications for gifted education. Roeper Review, 16(3), 152-155.
This article stresses the importance of teachers creating a gender-free teaching environment. Many teachers unintentionally teach with gender bias when they encourage boys to take accelerated math and science courses and encourage girls to take accelerated language arts classes. Teachers have a special opportunity to inspire gifted males and females to step out of their gender stereotypes and explore their passions and talents rather than what society expects of them.
This article forced me to reexamine my teaching strategies to see if I had unintentionally taught or guided students with gender bias. In the future, I will pay careful attention to this problem when exploring new teaching models and programs in an effort to avoid gender role stereotyping.

Kerr, B. (2000). Proceedings from Gender and Genius: A Keynote Speech to the National Curriculum Networking Conference. Williamsburg, VA: College of William and Mary.
In this speech, Dr. Kerr explains the relationships between the roles and careers of gifted males and females. She states that many males shy away from creative careers in arts and language because they are not “manly” or lucrative fields. Most gifted males focus on medical, law, business or engineering degrees. Females on the other hand, do not feel as pressured to conform to traditional gender roles and pursue degrees in a variety of fields. Dr. Kerr cautioned that many gifted males suffer from job dissatisfaction because they did not pursue fields that truly interested them. Similarly, many gifted females struggle to deal with demanding careers and traditional family (motherly) roles.
I found this speech to be particularly interesting because, even though it is the twenty-first century, males and females are still struggling with identity and gender roles in the educational setting as well as in the career workplace. Teachers must pay special attention to this problem and help students step out of predetermined gender roles.

Rose, L. (1999, Spring). Gender issues in gifted education. The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented Newsletter. Retrieved from
This article discusses the discrepancies between the number of males and females that major in math and science fields at the university level. In the study conducted, students were given questionnaires about their feelings towards different subjects. Interestingly, male students commented on their strengths while female students commented on their weakness pertaining to school subjects. Researchers believe that many females shy away from math and science courses and majors because they fear that they will perform poorly even though they have high math and science ability scores.
This article urges parents and teachers to encourage females to pursue math and science classes in order to break gender barriers. I think that all teachers need to be aware of this problem and help females see that they can be successful in advanced math and science courses as well.

Vanderkam, L. (2005, April 11).What math gender gap? USA Today. Retrieved from
This newspaper article raised a few interesting points about the math gender gap. Recently, women earned almost 50% of the biology Ph.Ds. On the other hand, they only earned 18% of the physics Ph.Ds. and 17% of the engineering Ph.Ds. Studies and questionnaires have shown that many of the women who score highly on the math part of the SAT have more talents than just math alone. These women often chose non-math related careers because of their multipotentiality. Also, women who answered career surveys stated that they chose science/math career fields that “helped others” such as biology and medicine rather than physics or math. These females envisioned mathematics and physics as sitting inside and thinking all day instead of interacting with others.
This article was very eye-opening because it shed some light on why females tend to choose certain career paths. Women, by nature, are nurturing, so it would only make sense that they would choose careers that they felt helped them to make a difference by helping others. This has important implications for universities because if they want to recruit more females in male dominated fields, they must find ways to market their degrees and prove to females how beneficial and helpful their fields are.