Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Edel M. Reilly

Second Advisor

Kelli R. Paquette

Third Advisor

Mark Twiest

Abstract

Through interview responses, this study examines the perceptions of seven secondary mathematics teachers concerning the programs and methods they incorporate to reach their gifted students. In addition to teacher interviews, four focus groups of teachers, who taught various grade levels, were conducted. All study participants teach or had taught gifted students. To triangulate data, artifacts utilized by interviewees were analyzed.

Participant responses were compared and contrasted to identify patterns and differences. It was found that participants felt they were adequately enriching curriculum for gifted secondary mathematics students. However, in many cases, gifted students were not provided with enrichment activities that extended beyond those received by their entire class. Participants also felt that they were using adequate grouping methods. However, teachers often grouped gifted students with the intention of raising the performance of struggling learners. In such instances, gifted students were not grouped with other high performing students for the advancement of mathematics ability. Participants rarely incorporated acceleration and compacting strategies. However, gifted secondary students routinely took Advanced Placement (AP) courses as a potential form of acceleration.

Despite participants largely feeling that they had not been properly or formerly trained to work with gifted students, participants expressed feelings of adequacy and confidence in their abilities to work with gifted students in the secondary mathematics environment. Participants expressed both advantages and challenges to working with gifted students. Advantages included the opportunity to utilize the abilities of gifted students to help struggling learners, allowing for teacher and student autonomy within the classroom, and having students in the classroom that the teacher can routinely rely on to provide correct answers. Challenges included lack of gifted student motivation, lack of time to meet the needs of gifted learners, and the problem behaviors of gifted students.

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