Date of Award

6-19-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Mary Renck Jalongo, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Monte Tidwell, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kelli R. Paquette, Ed.D.

Fourth Advisor

James Hooks, Ph.D.

Abstract

A significant issue in gifted education is the possible need for mandatory pre-service programs or certifications for educators who work with students who are gifted and talented. It was the primary purpose of this dissertation study to examine the perceptions of three groups of participants (pre-service educators, in-service educators in regular classroom environments, and in-service educators in classrooms for gifted students) to discern if misconceptions exist among the groups about the best practices for identifying and educating students who are gifted. Qualitative methodology was used to collect data via focus group interviews, email interviews, and document analysis. Data were analyzed for emerging trends and common themes in participants' perceptions of best practices for identifying and educating students who are gifted. The results of this study yielded several recommendations, including: (1)the need for more cohesive philosophies of gifted education and in-service training programs at the district level, (2) better defined gifted certification and/or pre-service teacher education program elements for gifted education, and (3) assistance for school districts from gifted education professional organizations or universities with strong backgrounds in gifted education programming to provide quality gifted professional development. The results support further research regarding pre-service education components and best practices in the education of students who are gifted.

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