Date of Award

12-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Timothy J. Runge, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Lynanne Black, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Mark McGowan, Ph.D.

Abstract

The concept of giftedness has evolved significantly from its early conceptualization as a single score on an intelligence test to modern conceptualizations that reflect multiple, distinct areas in which giftedness may be demonstrated. Although Dr. Marland’s landmark 1972 report proposed additional areas in which an individual may be characterized as gifted, currently there is no consensus on a uniform definition of giftedness. Many educators and psychologists have proffered their interpretation of giftedness, but school psychologists, the educational professionals who often conduct evaluations to determine eligibility for gifted services, historically have had little input into this debate. This study utilized three vignettes to examine how school psychologists perceived giftedness. The first vignette reflected an individual with an IQ score of 130 and a strong academic profile while the second vignette reflected an individual whose IQ score was slightly lower than 130 and also had a strong academic profile. The final vignette described an individual with strong artistic skills but did not meet the traditional benchmark of an IQ score of 130 or higher. Participants also answered a variety of demographic questions about themselves and their place of employment. Data analyses suggested that school psychologists overwhelmingly associate giftedness with an IQ score near or above 130. Conversely, only 33% of participants identified the individual with strong artistic skills as gifted. Participants from Ohio, a state with a well-defined and inclusive definition of giftedness, were more likely to identify the artistic individual as gifted, suggesting that state definitions of giftedness influence school psychologists’ perceptions of giftedness. Although the results of this study are tempered by both the low return rate on the survey and the small size of the sample, they suggest that school psychologists support a more traditional conceptualization of giftedness. Additional research is recommended to confirm the results of this study and to further explore specific characteristics that school psychologists believe reflect giftedness.

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