He consistently scores in the 99th percentile on ITBS, and in seventh grade he scored an 1180 on his SATs (part of the gifted program).
We've had conferences, studied Sylvia Rimm's book, Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades, tried punishment, no punishment -- nothing helps. I'm concerned about his low self-esteem. He was so excited about high school, the courses he would be taking, and being recommended by his teachers for the honors program. Now he's afraid he won't get in, or if he does, that he won't succeed.
His year-younger brother is a classic overachiever, also in the gifted program. Everything he does just seems to work for him. My older son can't see the effort his "little" brother puts into school, sports, friends, etc. He only sees the end result and is very jealous. Any suggestions?
At this point, the solution is often two-fold: What's blocking this guy from reaching his superior potential? What does this gifted teen want that he can't have unless he gets into gear?
The answer to the first question could be depression, distractibility, poor study habits, etc. A full evaluation could answer this, looking into the emotional, physical, and academic. The answer to the second question could be a material incentive -- but I doubt it. I have found that kids like this may have unrealistic expectations about what they can accomplish with no practice, no effort, etc. The fact that he is jealous (but clueless) about his brother's successes tells me this may be true for him as well. In counseling, your son could explore these questions about his current and future desires/goals. As low self-esteem is now also an issue, I think you should consider counseling. These problems may be masking a depression as well.
I have also had good outcomes with gifted teens who have found a mentor they admire, someone who can help them see what certain jobs actually require in terms of school, grades, effort, and so on. This type of course can help a gifted teen find their focus. Before the pressures of high school overwhelm him, I would recommend counseling with a therapist who understands giftedness. The National Association for Gifted Children (www.nagc.org) can give you further info on giftedness and counseling.