achievement motivation and self-efficacy arises out of challenge and satisfaction in mastering tasks that appropriately match capabilities.
Characteristic: The capacity for learning of high-ability students is underestimated and thus becomes underdeveloped, especially if learning criteria lack sufficient challenge, and curriculum is not adequately knowledge rich and rigorous.
Implication: Curriculum must be targeted at developing especially deep and well-organized knowledge structures that with time will begin to approximate those of experts. Doing so will foster cognitive development, higher-level thinking skills, and creativity. The depth of the curriculum should allow gifted learners to continue exploring an area of special interest to the expert level. Curricula for these students should enable them to explore constantly changing knowledge and information and develop the attitude that knowledge is worth pursuing in a global society.
Characteristic: High-ability children are advanced in their critical and creative thinking skills. They tend to spend much more time up front (i.e., metacognitively) than in the execution phase of problem solving.
Implication: The basic thinking skills to be developed in high-ability students are critical thinking, creative thinking, problem finding and solving, research, and decision making. Those skills should be mastered within each content domain.
Characteristic: High-ability students prefer unstructured problems in which the task is less well defined. They also like to structure their own learning experiences. They do not require careful scaffolding of material or step-by-step learning experiences to master new material or concepts; in fact, they become frustrated with such approaches.
Implication: Opportunities to identify and solve problems should be provided. Interdisciplinarity, greater in-depth exploration of areas of interest, and autonomous learning should be encouraged. Meaningful project work in content areas, in which real-world products are generated, is appropriate as it allows students the opportunity to create on their own and to apply and expand ideas learned in class. To facilitate such work, curricula should encourage exposure to, selection of, and use of specialized and appropriate resources.
Characteristic: High-ability students have the capacity to make connections easily among disparate bodies of knowledge and to deal effectively with abstractions and complexity of thought.
Implication: Curricula ought to emphasize providing students with a deep understanding of the important concepts of a discipline and how they