What characteristics can help distinguish between a bright student and a student who may be gifted?

These traits are indicators to help parents and teachers identify and discuss behaviors of a child.  Referred students do not fit neatly into one column or the other; however, it helps the referral team understand the child better and for the team to ask more questions about the child.

Bright Student

Gifted Student

Knows the answers

Asks the questions

Is interested

Is highly curious

Is attentive

Is mentally and physically involved

Has good ideas

Has wild, silly ideas

Works hard

Plays around, yet tests well

Answers the questions

Discusses in detail , elaborates

Top group

Beyond the group

Listens with interest

Shows strong feelings and opinions

Learns with ease

Already knows

6-8 repetitions for mastery

1-2 repetitions for mastery

Understands ideas

Constructs abstractions

Enjoys peers

Prefers adults

Grasps the meaning

Draws inferences

Works hard

Initiates projects

Is receptive

Is intense

Copies accurately

Creates a new design

Enjoys school

Enjoys learning

Absorbs information

Manipulates information



Good memorizer

Good guesser

Enjoys sequential presentation

Thrives on complexity

Is alert

Is keenly observant

Is pleased with own learning

Is highly self-critical


Source: Janice Szabos (1989) Bright child, gifted leaner.