Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Brocato, Kay D.

Committee Member

Prince, L. Debra

Committee Member

Williams, K. Frankie

Committee Member

Hare, R. Dwight

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Education Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Leadership and Foundations


The purpose of this case study was to observe the condition of teacher-perceived ability to recognize giftedness in children in one elementary school. Experiences of 16 teachers of Grades 2–5 (the grades served by the gifted education program) were examined by responding to a questionnaire to determine their history with gifted education, definition of giftedness in children, and involvement in the gifted child referral process. Existing data were examined to determine which of the teachers had accurately identified gifted children. The 3 teachers who had accurately identified a gifted child were interviewed. Questionnaire and interview responses were analyzed in the context of Clark’s (2002) Cognitive Function Differentiating Characteristics of Gifted Learners. Results of the study showed that teachers in this school did not receive adequate pre-service or in-service training in recognition of the gifted population. The study revealed that in this elementary school, students who did not meet a teacher’s preconception of the term giftedness went unreferred for gifted testing. The process of selection used by teachers when considering a student for referral was subjective in nature and influenced by classroom observations, other teachers’ opinions, and the teachers’ personal experiences with giftedness outside of classroom practices. Data suggest that confidence and accuracy in referring students were positively influenced by years of teaching experience. Recommendations include the following: that colleges and universities prepare pre-service teachers to identify characteristics of gifted children; that in-service teachers receive professional development in identification of gifted traits in students; and that federal legislation include language that provides for the special needs of gifted students and mandates training for pre-service teachers in meeting the needs of this population.



gifted identification||intellectually gifted