Term of Award

Spring 2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Walter S. Polka

Committee Member 1

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 2

Frances S. Dubner

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine elementary and middle school educators' perceptions of the reasons for the underrepresentation of African Americans in gifted education programs. The mixed method paradigm included a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The two instruments used were an eight-item interview questionnaire and a two page researcher-designed survey. The participants were selected based on the operation of their gifted eligibility teams from three selected elementary schools and twenty middle schools. Three elementary principals and three middle school principals were interviewed to gain an in-depth knowledge of the reasons for and strategies to correct the underrepresentation of African Americans in gifted education programs. Sixty-nine surveys were mailed to principals at three elementary schools and twenty middle schools of a large school system in metro Atlanta. The principals distributed the surveys to members of his or her schools gifted eligibility team. The survey assessed the reasons for the underrepresentation of African Americans in gifted education programs based on the perceptions of principals and teachers. The 31 respondents surveys, a 44.9% return rate, were analyzed and indicated that reasons for the underrepresentation of African Americans in gifted education programs consisted of the following: (1) African American culture does not value intellectual giftedness; (2) Definition of giftedness inhibits identification of minority students; (3) Identification process for admission into the gifted program is problematic; (4) Low socio-economic status of African American students inhibits their identification for the gifted program; (5) Non-standard language of African American students inhibits their identification for the gifted program; (6) The educational level of African American parents negatively affects student attitudes about the gifted program; (7) Race causes African American students not to be nominated; (8) Late identification of African American students causes them not to stay in the gifted program; (9) Teachers do not recognize gifted potential of African American students; (10) Test bias works against African American students; (11) Student unwillingness to participate in the program is problematic. As a result of the principals' interviews, nine strategies were formulated to address the underrepresentation of African Americans in gifted education programs.

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