Academic self-concept in twice-exceptional students: What the literature tells us


Geraldine Townend, Donna Pendergast and Susanne Garvis


This article explores the phenomenon of academic self-concept for twice-exceptional students. Twice-exceptional students typically have a lower than average selfconcept. If this finding is extrapolated and applied to academic self-concept, the likelihood is that that will also be below average. Low academic self-concept can be the forerunner to psychosocial and behavioural issues with undesirable behaviours, such as being highly disruptive in classrooms, which is self-sabotaging for twice-exceptional students and frustrating for teachers, parents and caregivers. Various influences, both internal and external, shape academic self-concept, and these influences do not stand alone in their different domains, but rather interweave across all areas to create a dynamic and changing construct. The literature presented in this article reveals that for twice-exceptional students, the psychosocial problems that might exacerbate low academic self-concept as a result of low achievement include frustration, lack of understanding, fear of failing, lack of motivation, negative perfectionism, unsatisfactory peer and teacher relationships, motivation, negative school attitudes and a limited connection to school.