Programs for gifted students have been criticized for narrowly defining giftedness as merely cognitive or academic performance. Teacher referrals are usually an important component of identifying gifted students. Teacher perceptions, low expectations, and lack of cultural competence are perceived as barriers to the access of Gifted and Talented Education programs for African American students. This study examined the impact of teachers’ knowledge of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory (Gardner, 1983, 2006, 2011) on their perception of giftedness in the referral of African American students to Gifted and Talented Education programs. Research questions were: (a) What is teachers’ knowledge of the current district criteria for referral of students to Gifted and Talented programs? (b) Are there differences in the conceptions of referral criteria of teachers with training in MI Theory vs. teachers without training in MI Theory? (c) Are there differences in teacher attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs on giftedness in teachers having training in MI Theory vs. teachers having no training in MI Theory? (d) How do cultural factors impact teacher perceptions of giftedness in African American students, in teachers with training in MI Theory vs. teachers without training in MI Theory, and the referral of African American students to Gifted and Talented Education programs? Using a mixed-methods approach, a quasi-experimental design and qualitative inquiry were utilized. Findings indicated that all teachers demonstrated limited knowledge of district referral criteria. However, teachers having MI Theory training demonstrated greater knowledge of the district’s Alternative Referral and Identification Criteria. Conceptual differences were found in the need for alternative pathways such as peer nominations. Findings noted differences for teachers having training in MI Theory with greater knowledge of characteristics of giftedness and the impact of that knowledge on cultural factors relating to students’ use of non-standard English in the perception of giftedness. Greater focus on leadership is needed in the current federal definition of giftedness. Overall, findings suggested that training in Multiple Intelligence Theory provides a framework for greater understanding of the multifaceted attributes of intelligence, which may result in greater opportunities to identify non-traditional areas of giftedness in African American students.
|Advisor:||Yau, Jenny Y. P.|
|Commitee:||Christian, Pamela M., Park, Hae-Seong|
|School:||Azusa Pacific University|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||African American Studies, Black studies, Gifted Education, Multicultural Education, Special education|
|Keywords:||African-American, Gifted and talented education, Gifted students, Multiple intelligences, Teacher perception, Teacher referrals, Underrepresented students|
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