The Relationship between Giftedness, Visual-spatial Learning and School Results
Giessen, N. van der
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Objective: This research focusses on a possible correlation between giftedness and visual-spatial thinking: features of two groups of students with disappointing school achievements. Method: During this study 177 students from the 5th and 6th grades of 7 Dutch elementary schools were asked to fill out the My Thinking Style test (MTS) and several subtests of the NIO (Nederlandse Intelligentietest voor Onderwijsniveau), a Dutch IQ test that consists of six subtests: three concerning language skills and three concerning spatial awareness and numeracy skills. Students were grouped in three thinking style categories: visual-spatial thinkers, auditory-sequential thinkers or no preference for either thinking style. NIO scores were used to group students into intelligence categories: low-ability, average-ability, high-ability and gifted students. Gifted students were classified based on a diagnosis for giftedness. Intelligence scores and school results were compared to measure the degree of underachievement. Results: Thinking style does not appear to predict giftedness; factors that predict a diagnosis for giftedness are intelligence, school results and age (p < .001). Intelligence and to an extent also thinking style influence school results (p < .001), but not underachievement (p = .064). Gifted students underachieve significantly more than non-gifted students (p = .025). No interaction between giftedness and thinking style preference was found (p = .675). Conclusions: Gifted students were shown to underachieve significantly more than non-gifted students, but this can not be attributed to thinking style: no correlation between thinking style preference and intelligence was found.