Recent poles among students in European countries suggest that a substantial group of in secondary education is regularly bored because the learning material is too easy. From the top 20 percent of the class in the Netherlands even 56 percent is often bored. Many of these students state that they would like to receive additional attention or extra learning material on a higher level. This picture is confirmed by parents in primary and secondary schools (Intomart research 2014).
One third of the gifted children perform below their level. When students aren’t challenged in school, they are at risk of losing their motivation to learn and excl. Underachievement is a commonly found problem among gifted children (report National Council of Education (Onderwijsraad) in the Netherlands, 2011).
In most of the European countries gifted students perform below their level. Comparing to new economies like Singapore, Finland and South Korea, but also to England and Belgium they are very much behind. Students from the partner countries in the project, The Netherlands, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, perform even worse than other countries in the international rankings on talent development. Only 5% of the Dutch students in Primary Education obtain the highest level. For Slovenia and the Czech Republic this number is 4%. (TIMSS, 2011).
Considering the international results European countries struggle with identical talent issues.
Causes (see report E.Seegers & L. Hoogeveen, 2013), at the request of the Ministry of Education in the Netherlands
- Talent is not sufficiently and adequately stimulated in schools. Regular teaching methods reflect an effort to bring all students to a minimal level. Additional challenges are mostly limited in size, time and level.
- Talented children often lack metacognitive skills like orienting on task, setting goals, planning, monitoring yourself, evaluating results and reflection on taken actions. Currently too little attention is given to developing these skills in education. Research on selected (gifted) students on Pre-University of the Leiden University, shows that 50% are at risk of insufficient achievements that endanger their success at university (Marcel Veenman, 2013)
- In the traditional class system there are ig differences within traditional classroom groups, especially in primary education. Students are often classified by age and not by level. The weakest subject of a student often determines the level of secondary lessons on higher level
- Teachers and school management are not equipped with sufficient skills to offer differentiated content and skills. Especially in primary schools, teachers have to cope with big differences between children. Research in the Netherlands suggests that less than 30 percent of the teachers master the skills to sufficiently deal with these differences. Many teachers feel the need for specific training or sharing knowledge amongst colleagues.