The demographics of public schools in the United States have changed over recent years to include millions of English language learners (ELLs), students whose first language is not English and who demonstrate limited proficiency in English. During this same time period, school personnel have struggled to identify ELLs for gifted programs because of language and cultural barriers. The problem addressed in this study was that researchers do not have a clear understanding of why or how some ELLs are being identified for gifted programs despite the documented difficulty with gifted identification of ELLs. Using a qualitative method and embedded single-case study design with a school district's gifted identification process for Spanish-speaking ELLs as the main unit of analysis, the purpose of this study was to explore the ways in which three Spanish-speaking ELLs in a southeastern U.S. school district were identified for a gifted program. Data sources included in-depth interviews with nine teachers and three parents of these students, and a document analysis of state-required gifted characteristics checklists completed by these teachers during the gifted referral process. Data were analyzed and coded to identify patterns related to how these Spanish-speaking ELLs were identified for the gifted program in the school district. From the coded themes, the four patterns of rapid learner, translation abilities, problem solving and creative thinking skills, and motivation emerged as key factors in the school district's gifted identification process for Spanish-speaking ELLs based on teacher interviews, parent interviews, and document review of the gifted characteristics checklists. Recommendations based on the findings included creation of additional gifted checklists that incorporated the characteristics of translation skills, rapid progress in English acquisition, and leadership in the ESL classroom as criteria in the gifted identification process for Spanish-speaking ELLs, professional development for teachers in how to use these factors in the process of identifying gifted Spanish-speaking ELLs, and parent meetings and personal communication to ensure parents of ELLs understand the gifted referral and identification process in the district. Recommendations for future research included studies of other school districts' gifted identification processes for ELLs and studies of the gifted identification process for ELLs from other countries and cultures.
|Department:||Gifted and Talented|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||English as a Second Language, Gifted Education, Special education, Hispanic American studies|
|Keywords:||English language learners, Gifted, Native Spanish speakers|
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