American college students are increasingly likely to describe themselves as "gifted" http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20756247 Well, I'm an undergraduate freshman and I would say I'm above average (relative to all 18 year olds in Canada). I would also say I'm above average (relative to my peers in my classes at uni because I've revamped my work habits recently). About a year ago, I would say that I was below average (relative to the smart students in my university classes in high school). I think it's just a coincidence that there's a correlation between confidence and how well you do in school. I think decrease in academic ability has to do with the number of distractions readily available these days - we're in a post-productivity age.