The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) was started in 1971 and is the longest-running research work dedicated to gifted children till now.
Started by Julian C. Stanley towards the end of his career at John's Hopkins University, it was a time, according to a report by Vanderbilt University when such studies were in their infancy. Here are the top takeaways that the study has revealed as compiled by BI.
Early signs as a blueprint
Early signs of cognitive abilities can be seen as a precursor for their skills in future. If a child is doing really well early in life, the study has revealed that it can be taken as a prediction for how performance will be later on. It is, according to the BI report, up to the parents, teachers and trainers to really assist the child in honing their skill sets.
Another point that the report brought out was how the mindset of the child is also important in skill development.
Standardised tests and what they are good for
According to the SMPY, not all standardised tests are great at measuring everything, including intelligence. The SATs were taken as an example for this, but the study did show that they are really useful to pinpoint what skills the child excels at, this information can then be used by teachers to focus attention on other areas, says Camilla Benbow, one of the researchers who are continuing work on the SMPY.
Intelligence is varied and layered
SMPY has, according to the report found over the years and after constant follow-ups and analysis that the smartest of kids possess a great capacity for spatial reasoning and visualising concepts. The report mentions a 2013 follow-up that found a strong correlation between the number of patents and peer-reviewed papers filed to extensive spatial reasoning.
Intelligence, it was noted is a lot more than the ability to remember and reproduce numbers, facts, and dates.
Gifted children do not always get enough attention
Teachers who might come across gifted, or genius children might not give them enough attention as they might think that such kids have already met their potential, turning their efforts towards the rest of the low-achieving kids, says the report.
This could be seen as the way teachers design classes- in a one-size-fits-all pattern, and SSMPY, it was reported has recommended that students each need individual plans.
Skipping grades could be a positive
SMPY says, according to the report that skipping a grade could help gifted children move faster towards reaching their potential. The study, through the years, has found that when compared to genius children who skipped a grade to ones that did not, those who skipped a grade were found to 60% more likely to get a doctorate in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields.
Genius kids lead "exceptional lives"
Over the years, starting with SATs and them moving on to doctorates and career paths, it was found that SMPY kids are among the top 5% when it comes to income-earning capacity. "These people really do control our society," Jonathan Wai, a psychologist at the Duke University Talent Identification Program.
A documentary titled "Quick Learners; High Achievers: Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth" that puts together the journey of the SMPY story and was produced by the Vanderbilt University's Peabody College.