Two recent incidents:
My daughter met a girl about her age at daycamp and had time to get to know her a little. She's a nice kid, but I was a little stunned by a conversation I only part heard. They were talking about their schools and the girl asked mine "do you have SEEC(some kind of gifted program) at your homeschool?" Of course my little one had no idea what she was talking about, so the girl explained "It's a place for the really really smart kids to go and learn stuff; I go there 3 times a week." She made this point at least 3 times that I could hear: "It's for really really smart kids (always 2 reallys) and I go there." OK, got it, you're really really smart.
She was a really nice kid and did seem very bright. But not bright enough to know that people don't really care about hearing how smart you are, over and over.
Some family friends came over to play. The boy who is my boy's age proudly told my husband about his report card and announced that he was in the top 1% of his class. He had that look, you know, expectant and, yes, a bit smug. When my husband just said "oh, that's nice" and moved on to something else, he looked disappointed.
He is mostly a nice friend but but he sometimes calls my son "dumb" "uncool" and "gay." My boy has to hide any complex Lego creations he has in his room because this boy has broken some apart even after being asked not to touch them. Oh, did I mention that he goes to Christian school?
Now I don't begrudge bright children special opportunities, and I understand a child should be proud of real accomplishments, like working hard to get good grades, and then getting them. "Being gifted" or really really smart does not seem like an accomplishment. It's the way the person is. And it's great. But it seems that something important might be missing from the education here: humility.
I am not sure why the report card shows the child's percentile in the class. Seems that should be information for the parent, not the kid. My kids don't see their standardized test scores. They don't know what grade levels they test out at in the various subjects. I simply tell them they did fine where they did do fine, and talk about where we need to work harder or change what's not working for them. My kids' scores are all over the place anyway; neither of them fit perfectly in any grade level. I don't think that's unusual.
My kids are doing fine, more than fine in some areas. But if I had to choose between them being really really smart or being humble, guess what I'd pick?