• unlimited access with print and download
    $ 37 00
  • read full document, no print or download, expires after 72 hours
    $ 4 99
More info
Unlimited access including download and printing, plus availability for reading and annotating in your in your Udini library.
  • Access to this article in your Udini library for 72 hours from purchase.
  • The article will not be available for download or print.
  • Upgrade to the full version of this document at a reduced price.
  • Your trial access payment is credited when purchasing the full version.
Buy
Continue searching

Teachers' and parents' perceptions concerning the underrepresentation of gifted African American students: A phenomenological study

Dissertation
Author: Sharon Denese MIchael-Chadwell
Abstract:
The problem examined in this study is that African American students remain underrepresented in the public education system's gifted and talented or gifted programs because of nomination, assessment, and identification procedures (Bonner, 2005; Ford & Moore, 2005; Joseph & Ford, 2006; Huff, Houskamp, Watkins, Stanton, & Tavegia, 2005; McGlonn-Nelson, 2005; Nugent & Shaunessy, 2003; Villarreal, 2004). The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was twofold. First, the purpose was to examine the lived experiences of 12 regular classroom teachers and 11 African American parents who participated in the nomination of African Americans for programs. Second, the purpose was to determine their perceptions of the nomination, assessment, and identification processes in relation to the underrepresentation of African American students in gifted programs. Based on a gleaning of pertinent themes and patterns within the research participants' responses, factors contributing to the underrepresentation of African Americans in gifted and talented programs include: (a) misperceptions regarding a student's race and ability; (b) the lack of parent awareness programs about issues related to gifted and talented education; (c) the need for professional development training related to the needs of minority gifted students; and (d) issues related to testing and assessment instrumentation. Recommendations to key educational leadership stakeholders (federal, state, and local education agency leadership) are to: (a) adopt a unifying Federal Government definition of giftedness for all states and inclusive of student groups underserved; (b) assess gifted and talented program effectiveness; and (c) create professional and staff development programs for K-12 educators.

TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES …………………………………..………………………………… xiv LIST OF FIGURES ………………………………………………………………...... xvii CHAPTER 1: INTR ODUCTION ………………………………………………………. 1 Background of the Problem ………………………………………………………………1 Nomination, Assessment, and Identification Procedures ......…………………………2 Definitions of Giftedness ………………………...…………………….…………….. 7 Statement of the Problem ………………………………………………………………..10 Purpose of the Study ………………………………………………………………….... 11 Significance of the Problem ……………………………………………………………. 12 Significance of the Problem to Educational Leaders ……………………………………14 Nature of the Study …………………………………………………………………….. 14 Research Questions …………………………….………………………………………. 19 Theoretical Framework ……………………………………………………………….... 20 Social Dominance Theory ………………………...................................................... 21 Classical View Theory .........................................................................................…...22 Critical Race Theory ...........................................................................................…... 25 Transformational Leadership Theory …………………………………………...…. 27 Transformational Leadersh ip and Organizational Change ……………...…………. 29 Definition of Terms …………………………………………………………………….. 30 Assumptions …………………………………………………………………………..... 32 Scope …………………………………………………………………………………… 32 Limitations ………………………………………………………………………..……. 33

viii

Delimitations ……………………………………………………………………..….…. 34 Summary ……………………………………………………………………………...…36 CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE …………………………………….. 39 Documentation ………………………………………………………………………..... 40 Historical Overview ……………………………………………………………………. 41 Germinal Theories on Intelligence ……………………………………………………... 42 Spearman’s General Fact or of Intelligence Theory …………………………...…… 42 Bloom’s Taxonomy ……………………………………...………………………… 44 Renzuli’s Triad or Revolving Door System Model …………...…………………… 44 Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences ……………………………………….. 46 Contemporary Theories on Intelligence, Giftedness, and Creativity …………………... 48 Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory on Intelligence ……………...………………………. 49 Emotional Intelligence Theory ...........................................................................…... 50 Perkins’ Theory on Intelligence ……………………………………………………. 52 Creative Persons Traits Theory …………………………………………………….. 53 Sternberg’s Theory of Mental Self-Government …………………………………... 55 Gruber’s Evolving Systems Approach to Creativity Theory ………………………. 57 Cambourne’s Conditions of Learning Theory ……………………………………... 58 The Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent ……………………………….. 59 Cross-Cultural Research Regardi ng Giftedness and Assessment ……………………… 60 Research Related to African Amer ican Students and Giftedness ……………………… 66 Concerns Regarding the Assessment Process ……………...………………………. 68 Affective Dissonance ………………………………………………………………. 74

ix

Effects of Teachers’ Perceptions ………………………..………………………….. 78 Students’ Perceptions of Teachers …………………………………………………. 80 The Dynamics of Race-Ethnic Identity …………………………………………….. 81 The Effects of Parental Advocacy ..............................................................................85 Effects of Educational Leaders’ Behavi ors on Closing the Achievement Gap …........... 89 Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………………... 91 Summary ……………………………………………………………………………….. 93 CHAPTER 3: METHOD ………………………………………………………………. 95 Research Design ……………………………………………………………………….. 96 Understanding Quantitative versus Qualitative Research ………………………….. 96 Further Explanation of Phenomenology ………………………………………….... 99 Understanding Epoché …………………………………………………………..... 100 The Phenomenological Research Model ……………………………………......... 101 The van Kaam Method of Phenomenological Analysis ……………………....….. 103 Appropriateness of Design ……………………………………………………………. 106 Research Questions …………………………………………………………………… 109 Population …………………………………………………………………………….. 110 Informed Consent …………………………………………………………………….. 112 Sampling Frame ………………………………………………………………………. 115 Confidentiality ………………………………………………………………………... 116 Geographic Location ………………………………………………………………….. 117 Instrumentation ……………………………………………………………………….. 118 Data Collection ……………………………………………………………………...... 120

x

Pilot Interview …………………………………………………………………....... 121 Demographic Settings ………………………………………………………………122 Data Collection Procedures ………………………………………………………... 122 Summarization of Administrative Steps …………………………………………... 128 Data Analysis …………………………………………………………………………. 132 Validity and Reliability ……………………………………………………………….. 135 Internal Validity …………………………………………………………………… 136 External Validity and Reliability ………………………………………………….. 137 Summary ……………………………………………………………………………… 138 CHAPTER 4: RESULTS ……………………………………………….…………….. 140 Constructing Questions for th e Interview Protocols ………………………………….. 141 Interview Protocol and Ra tionale for Teachers’ Questions ……………………….. 143 Interview Protocol and Ra tionale for Parents’ Questions …………………………. 147 Data Collection and Analysis Procedures …………………………………………….. 148 Data Collection Procedures ……………………………………………………....... 148 Pilot Interview Feedback ………………………………………………………...... 149 Participants ………………………………………………………………………… 150 Data Collection Sites ………………………………………………………………. 156 Time Spent Collecting Data ……………………………………………………….. 156 Challenges or Unique O ccurrences during Data Collection …………………......... 157 Dragon Naturally Speaking ………………………………………………........ 157 NVivo 7 ……………………………………………………………………….. 157 Analysis Procedures …………………………………………………………………... 157

xi

Listing and Preliminary Groupi ng (Horizonalization) ……………………………...… 159 Findings ……………………………………………………………………………..... 159 Reduction and Elimination ………………………………………………………... 160 Teacher Participants’ Interview Summary ………………………………………… 160 Parent Participants’ Interview Summary ………………………………………….. 171 Divergent and Convergent Themes ……………………………………………….. 179 Clustering and Thematizing the Invariant Constituents …………………………….... 179 Teacher Participants’ Themes and Textual Descriptors ………………………....... 182 Parent Participants’ Th emes and Textual Descriptors ……………………………. 193 Applying Predominant Themes to Research Questions ……………………………… 205 Validity and Reliability ………………………………………………………………. 208 Summary ……………………………………………………………………………… 209 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS …………………… 211 Conclusions …………………………………………………………………………… 211 Assumptions, Scope, Limitations, and Delimitations ………………………………… 212 Assumptions ……………………………………………………………………….. 212 Scope ………………………………………………………………………………. 214 Limitations ………………………………………………………………………… 214 Delimitations …………………………………………………………………......... 216 Significance of the Study ……………………………………………………………... 217 Significance of the Study to Educational Leadership ………………………………… 219 Recommendations to Ke y Stakeholders ……………………………………………… 220 Rationale and Purpose for Recommendations ………………………………...…..….. 224

xii

Recommended Federal Governme nt Definition for Giftedness ……...…………… 225 Implications of Recommendations ………………………………………………….... 230 Response to the Research Questions ………………………………………………….. 231 Recommendations for Future Study ……………………..…………………………… 236 Closing Comments ……………………………………………………………………. 237 REFERENCES ……………………………………………………………………….. 238 APPENDIX A: INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS …………………………………….... 281 APPENDIX B: INFORMED CONSENT: PERMISSION TO CONTACT ORGANIZATION’S MEMBERSHIP AND/ OR USE OF FACILITIES ……………. 336 APPENDIX C: INFORMED CONSENT: PERMISSION GRANTED TO CONTACT ORGANIZATION’S MEMBERSHIP AND/ OR USE OF FACILITIES …………… 338 APPENDIX D: INFORMED CONSENT FR OM: PARTICIPANTS 18 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER ………………………………………………………………………… 340 APPENDIX E: PROMISE OF CONFIDENTIALITY FORM ………………………. 342 APPENDIX F: INTRODUCTORY LETTER TO RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS …..344 APPENDIX G: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR REGULAR CLASSROOM TEACHERS ……………………………………………………………………………348 APPENDIX H: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR PARENTS ………………………..351 APPENDIX I: DEMOGRAPHI C SETTINGS FOR TEACHER …………...…………354 APPEDNIX J: DEMOGRAPHI C SETTINGS FOR PARENT …………………….....356 APPENDIX K: MATRIX FO R PILOT INTERVIEW ………………………………..358 APPENDIX L: VERBAL SCRIPTS …………………………………………………..360

xiii

APPENDIX M: NOTIFICATION OF DESTROYED RESEARCH DOCUMENTS …………………………………………………………………………………………..365 APPENDIX N: DIVERGENT AND CONVERGENT COMPARISONS OF EMERGING THEMES ..................................................................................................367 APPENDIX O: SAN ANTONIO STUDE NTS IN GIFTED AND TALENTED PROGRAMS IN THE CITY’S VARIOUS PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS BY ETHNICITY FOR SCHOOL YEAR 2006-2007 ………………………….…………..379 APPENDIX P: TOTAL NUMBER OF TEA CHERS BY ETHNICI TY WORKING IN SAN ANTONIO PUBLIC SCHOOL DI STRICTS DURING SCHOOL YEAR 2006- 2007 …………………………………………………………………………………….381 APPENDIX Q: CORRELATION OF RESEARCH QUESTIONS TO INTERVIEW QUESTIONS SUPPORTED BY RESEARCH ……………………………………….383 APPENDIX R: TEXAS EDUCATIO N SERVICE CENTER REGIONS ……………387

xiv

LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Percent Students Enrolled in Gifted Programs in the United States by Ethnicity ………………………………………………… ………….………………….3 Table 2 Percent Student Population Identified as Gifted in the United States by Ethnicity ……………………………………………………………… …………………4 Table 3 Percent Total Identified Gifted Student Population in Texas K-12 by Ethnicity …………………………………………………………………………4 Table 4 Research Database Search Results (2004-2007) ……………………………...40 Table 5 Sternberg’s Theory of Mental Self-Government Thinking Styles ………….…..56 Table 6 Frequency Count of Teachers’ Highest Level of Education, Years Experience, and Age ………………………………………………………………………..152 Table 7 San Antonio Teacher Participant (SATP) Demographic Data (n=12) ……….153 Table 8 San Antonio Parent Participant (SAPP) Demographic Data (n=11) ………...155 Table 9 Reduction and Elimination Teacher Interview Question 1 ……………………161 Table 10 Interview Question 2 by Teachers’ Ethnicity …………………………………163 Table 11 Reduction and Elimination Teac her Interview Question 2 …………………..163 Table 12 Reduction and Elimination Teac her Interview Question 3 …………………..164 Table 13 Reduction and Elimination Teac her Interview Question 4 …………………..165 Table 14 Reduction and Elimination Teac her Interview Question 5 …………………..166 Table 15 Reduction and Elimination Teac her Interview Question 6 ….……………….167 Table 16 Reduction and Elimination Teac her Interview Question 7 …………………..168 Table 17 Reduction and Elimination Teac her Interview Question 8 …………………..169 Table 18 Reduction and Elimination Teac her Interview Question 9 …………………..170

xv

Table 19 Reduction and Elimination Teac her Interview Question 10 …………………171 Table 20 Reduction and Elimination Pare nt Interview Question 1 …………………….172 Table 21 Reduction and Elimination Pare nt Interview Question 2 ................................173 Table 22 Reduction and Elimination Pare nt Interview Question 3 ……………………174 Table 23 Reduction and Elimination Pare nt Interview Question 4 ….………..……….174 Table 24 Reduction and Elimination Pare nt Interview Question 5 ……………………175 Table 25 Reduction and Elimination Pare nt Interview Question 6 ……………………176 Table 26 Reduction and Elimination Pare nt Interview Question 7 ……………………176 Table 27 Reduction and Elimination Pare nt Interview Question 8 ……………………177 Table 28 Reduction and Elimination Pare nt Interview Question 9 ……………………178 Table 29 Reduction and Elimination Pare nt Interview Question 10 …………………..179 Table 30 Predominant Themes Related to Phenomenon According to Question ……...181 Table 31 Q1 and Q2 SATP Predominant Theme ………………………………………183 Table 32 Q3 SATP Predominant Theme ……………………………………………….183 Table 33 Q4 SATP Predominant Theme ……………………………………………….185 Table 34 Q5 SATP Predominant Theme ……………………………………………….186 Table 35 Q6 SATP Predominant Theme ……………………………………………….187 Table 36 Q7 SATP Predominant Theme ……………………………………………….188 Table 37 Q8 SATP Predominant Theme ……………………………………………….189 Table 38 Q9 SATP Predominant Theme ……………………………………………….191 Table 39 Q10 SATP Predominant Theme ……………..……………………………….192 Table 40 Q1 and Q2 SAPP Predominant Theme ………………………………………194 Table 41 Q3 SAPP Predominant Theme ……………………………………………….195

xvi

Table 42 Q4 SAPP Predominant Theme ……………………………………………….197 Table 43 Q5 SAPP Predominant Theme ……………………………………………….198 Table 44 Q6 SAPP Predominant Theme ……………………………………………….199 Table 45 Q7 SAPP Predominant Theme ……………………………………………….200 Table 46 Q8 SAPP Predominant Theme ……………………………………………….202 Table 47 Q9 SAPP Predominant Theme ……………………………………………….204 Table 48 Q10 SAPP Predominant Theme …………………………………………..….205

xvii

LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1 . Trends in the Representation of Stude nt Population Groups by Ethnicity in San Antonio, Texas during School Year 2006-2007 ……………………………….....6 Figure 2. Interaction of Theoretical Frameworks………………………………………..20 Figure 3. Stages of Phenomenological Research...…………………………………….103 Figure 4 . Data Collection Research Map ...…...……………………………………….121 Figure 5 . Interpretation of Page’s Audio- Recorded Interview Process……..…………127 Figure 6 . Pre-Interview, Interview, and Post Interview Processes Specific to This Study …………………………………………………………………………...131 Figure 7 . Distribution of Teachers’ Highest Level of Education and Years Experience by Ethnicity ( n =12)………………………………………………………………..151 Figure 8. Distribution of Parents’ Le vel of Education and Age ( n =11)...……………..154 Figure 9 . Chadwell’s Recommended Transformativ e Model of Gifted and Talented Program Reform………………………………….………………………….....223

1 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION In the 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. the Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas , the Court’s judicial majority declar ed, “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” (Robinson, 2005, p. 53) . Although overt evidence of segregation might not exist in postmodern schools, a national trend suggests the resurgence of segregation in many schools (Dyson, 2005; Ogletree, 2004; Orfield & Eaton, 2003; Robinson, 2005). Staiger (2004) postulated that given the overrepr esentation of White students in gifted and talented (GT) programs, a covert se gregation agenda exists in public schools. Likewise, a dispr oportionate representation of minority students in special programs such as gifted programs and educat ional services for st udents who are learning challenged exists throughout the United Stat es (Artiles, Harry, & Chamberlain, 2005; De Valenzuela, Copeland, Qi, & Park, 2006; Ferri & Connor, 2005; Ogletree, 2004). The underrepresentation of African Amer ican students in GT programs was the focus of this research study. This chapte r includes discussions on the background of the problem, the theoretical framework to illustra te how the underrepresentation previously mentioned might have evolved as well as the significance of the problem to educational leaders. In addition, a discussion delineat ing the problem and purpose statements, the nature of the study, the scope, limitations, delimitations, assumptions, and operational terms or words related to this study is presented. Background of the Problem Given an increase of multiculturalism in the United States, many observers have become aware of inequalities and inequities in educatio nal practices that are in

2 disjunction with espoused valu es supported by the public (Ans alone, 2004; Charne, 2005; Noble, 2004; Obiakor, 2004; Ogletree, 2004; Terwel, 2005). Robinson (2005) asserted that providing an equitable and adequate educ ation for all children remains a contentious issue. In a study by a research group name d the Education Trust in Washington, DC, researchers documented the racial compositi on of students in every state’s gifted program, advanced placement programs, a nd special education programs (“News and Views,” 1997). Resulting from that study, the researchers concluded several key indicators explained the underre presentation of African Amer icans in GT programs: (a) poor preparation for school in the students’ hom es, (b) test bias on st andardized tests, (c) reliance on deficit-based paradigms, and (d) teachers’ and administrators’ inability to identify gifted African American students (Frasier, Garcia, & Passow, 1995; “News and Views,” 1997). Nomination, Assessment, and Identification Procedures In the 1970s, many White parents saw opport unities to circumvent court-ordered racial desegregation by advocating for pullout gifted programs, realizing that White students had a tendency to score higher th an minority students did on intelligence (IQ) examinations (Golden, 2004; Staiger, 2004). Ar guments that minority students are unable to pass qualifying assessments for gifted pr ograms might be due to the scope of the definition and perception of giftedness (Bonne r, 2005; Ford & Moore, 2005; Joseph & Ford, 2006; Huff, Houskamp, Watkins, St anton, & Tavegia, 2005; McGlonn-Nelson, 2005; Nugent & Shaunessy, 2003; Villarreal, 2004). Lee and Olszewski-Kubilius (2006) argued that traditional forms of assessment ar e ineffective because they are “basically

3 unidimensional and ethnocentric, which ca nnot benefit non-mainst ream ethnic groups” (p. 157). Since 1992, notable demographic differences appeared regarding the number of minority students enrolled in GT programs in the United States. Ford (1998) reported data from 1992 based on the et hnicity of gifted students from national records; Bonner and Jennings (2007) cited data indicating a continuance of the underrepresentation of minority students enrolled in gifted programs. Table 1 is a consolidation of data from both of Ford’s as well as Bonner and Jenni ngs’ studies. The National Research Center established data based on the total student population in the United States to the percent students identified as gifted, noting the underrep resentation of African American students in gifted programs in January 2003 (GT-Mi nority, 2003). Table 2 presents data based on the National Research Center’s study. Table 1 Percent Students Enrolled in Gifted Programs in the United States by Ethnicity

Year White Hispanic African Native Asian American American American American American

1992 72.4% 7.9% 12.1% .5% 4%

2002 72.59% 10.41% 8.44% .93% 7.64%

Note: From “Minority students in gifted and special education programs: The case for educational equity,” by D. Y. Ford, 1998, The Journal of Special Education, pp. 41-43; and from “Never too young to lead: Gifted African American males in elementary schools,” by F. A. Bonner & M. Jennings, 2007, Gifted Child Today, pp. 30-36.

4 Table 2 Percent Student Population Identified as Gifted in the United States by Ethnicity Year White Hispanic African Native Asian American American American American American

2003 7.47% 3.57% 3.04% 4.86% 9.9% Note: From “GT-Minority identificati on,” retrieved April 24, 2007, from http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/eric/faq/gt-minor.html

Data received from the Texas Education Agency’s (n.d.) Division of Curriculum Advance Academics/Gifted Education documen ted the percent of Texas K-12 identified gifted population from years 1991-2005. However, only years 2004-2005 showed continuous data (see Table 3). Villarreal (2004 ) noted that among the three major ethnic groups—Hispanic, White, and African American —the identification of gifted African American students decreased from the national averages during 2004.

Table 3 Percent Total Identified Gifted Student Population in Texas K-12 by Ethnicity Total White Hispanic African Native Asian Gifted American American American American American 1991 231,677 71.23% 17.88% 6.91% .13% 3.85% 1996 291,257 63.31% 22.17% 10.14% .20% 4.17% 2000 336,562 59.00% 25.79% 10.05% .25% 4.91% 2004 335,844 55.12% 30.12% 8.57% .29% 5.90% 2005 337,672 53.65% 31.44% 8.45% .30% 6.17% Note: From “ Texas K-12 school population compared to Texas K-12 Identified Gifted Population: 1991- 2005” Texas Education Agency’s (n.d.). Division of Curriculum Advance Academics/Gifted Education: Austin, Texas.

5 Data collected from the Texas Education Agency’s (2006-2007) Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) and the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) databases supported arguments of an underrepresentation of African American students in gifted programs in re lation to the total student population in San Antonio, Texas. The data collected repres ents the 15 independent school districts operating within the city (s ee Appendix O). Based on For d, Harris, Tyson, and Trotman (2002), in order to determine whether a spec ific student populati on group was either under- or overrepresented in a gifted and tale nted program, one of two formulas was used contingent on either of the following scenarios: 1.

If the percentage of a specific stude nt population group within a system is greater than the percentage of the sa me population group in a gifted program, then the formula to calculate percent underrepresentation is: (1-[per centage of students in gifted programs/ percentage of students of school district]*100); or 2.

If the percentage of a specific gifted student population group is greater than the percentage of the same student popul ation group within a system, then the formula to calculate percent overrepresentation is: (1-[percentage of students of school district/percentage of students in gifted programs]*100). During school year 2006-2007, African Amer icans were 35% underrepresented; Asian Americans were 18% overrepresented; Hi spanics were 15% unde rrepresented; Native Americans were 30% overrepresented; a nd Whites are 31% overrepresented in San Antonio (see Figure 1). In 2006, a combined teacher-parent committee in the Houston Independent School District obs erved that despite an enrollm ent rate of lower than 20%

6

Figure 1 : Trends in the Representation of St udent Population Groups by Ethnicity in San Antonio, Texas during School Year 2006-2007 **Note: Data based on 2006-2007 Texas Education Agency’s AEIS and PEIMS reports

7 in gifted programs within the district’s schools, White and Asian American students represented a large percentage of the gifted students; Af rican and Hispanic American students remained underrepresented (Radcliffe, 2006). In states such as Texas designating le ss than 2% of the state’s budget for GT programs (Texas Education Agency, 2005; 2006), Callahan (2005) contended that operational policies limit the number of stude nts served in such programs. Compounding this issue, the U.S. Department Educati on proposed a budget elimination of $11M to the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented E ducation Program, a national research and development consortium as well as federal funding clearinghouse for public schools, for the 2006 fiscal year (U.S. Department of Education, 2005; 2006). This proposed reduction would cause funding inadequacies an d inequities especially on campuses with high populations of poor and mi nority students (Borland, 2004). Definitions of Giftedness In 1969, the U.S. Congress issued a ma ndate to the U.S. Commissioner of Education for a study on the characteristics of gifted children (M cClellan, 1985). Three years later, the former U.S. Commissioner of Education, Sidney Marland created the resulting document known as the Marland Report or Public Law (PL) 91-230 (Scott, 1996; Walker, 2002). Within PL 91-230, gifted children are described as demonstrating high-performance achievement singly or in a combination in the following areas: “(a) general intellectual ability, (b ) specific academic aptitude , (c) creative or productive thinking, (d) leadership ability, (e) visual and performing arts, and (f) psychomotor ability” (McClellan, 1985, para. 11).

8 The U.S. Federal Government revised the definition for giftedness in 1993: “Outstanding talents are presen t in children and youth from all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and all areas of human e ndeavor” (Ford & Moore, 2005, p. 77). Instead of focusing on perceived characte ristics representative of a gifted individual, Ford and Moore surmised that the Federal Government sought to address the concept of giftedness from the perspective of how a child’s envi ronment or experiences may influence the development of his or her talents. Accordi ng to the Education Co mmission on the States (2004) as well as Brown, Avery, VanTassel- Baska, Worley, and Stambaugh (2006), since the Federal Government does not mandate publ ic schools to provide services for the gifted, the states are able to create GT pr ograms according to the state’s guidelines as well as define what constitutes a GT student. For example, the Texas legislature approved Texas Education Code §29.121, which define d giftedness somewhat similar to the Marland Report: [A] gifted and talented stude nt [is] a child or youth who performs at or shows the potential for performing at a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, e xperience, or environment. [A] gifted and talented student [is] a child or yout h who: (a) exhibits high-performance capability in an intellectual, creative, or artistic area; (b) possesses an unusual capacity for leadership; or (c) excels in a specific academic field. (Education Commission of the States, 2004, Texas section)

9 Pfeiffer and Jarosewich (2007) concluded that with the inconsistencies related to each state, the ability to define gifted and talented compromises the identification of gifted students. Bernal (2002) contended th at traditional modes of GT assessment hinder program access to minority students as well as White students who exhibit similar behavioral patterns of giftedness. Cross and Cross (2005) argued that although the identification of potentially gifted students may be a resu lt of IQ scores, academic achievements, creativity test results, scores from st andardized tests, parent and teacher recommendations, or a combination of any of the aforementioned, the outcome of any of these formats “creates a particular pool of gi fted students” (p. 21). Hence, educators must increase their knowledge of cultural factors prevalent wi thin the African American community (Elhoweris, Mutua, Alsheikh, & Ho lloway, 2005; Huff et al., 2005) to ensure compliance with the intent of current definitions of giftedness. Sternberg (2007) asserted th at different conceptions re lated to giftedness vary among cultural groups. However, current prac tices of identifying students for giftedness tend to be a reflection of a single cultura l group’s conceptualiz ation of giftedness (Crammond, 2004; Ngara, 2006; Sternberg, 2007). While a belief exists suggesting that IQ tests transcend cultural di fferences, Sternberg (2007) offe red a number of reasons that challenge this assumption: 1.

The IQ test tends to reflect a cultural conception of competence; 2.

For cultures that place a high value on schooling, the devaluing of the importance of IQ tests is a norm; and

10 3.

Within a contemporary framework of id entifying giftedness, the use of IQ tests in not sufficient. Hence, Sternberg (2007) suggested, “Conceptions of intelligence differ as a function of culture” (p. 161). The relativity of a single definition of gift edness could counter cultural principles and concepts of giftedness (Crammond, 2004). Statement of the Problem

African American students remain underre presented in the public education system’s gifted and talented or gifted programs because of nomination, assessment, and identification procedures (Bonner, 2005; Ford & Moore, 2005; Joseph & Ford, 2006; Huff, Houskamp, Watkins, Stanton, & Tave gia, 2005; McGlonn-Nelson, 2005; Nugent & Shaunessy, 2003; Villarreal, 2004). The overrepr esentation of White students, as opposed to minority students, in gifted programs is due to traditional characteristics associated with gifted children versus those gifted beha viors attributed to cultural differences or experiences (Baldwin, 2005; Manning, 2006). Co mpounding this problem is the criticism that the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legi slation ignores educational programs designed for the gifted (Bureau of Educational Research, 2004; Kaplan, 2004; Krisel, 2004; Olenchak, 2005; Pfeiffer, Petscher, & Jaro sewich, 2007; VanTassel-Baska, 2005). Given the increased emphasis on high stakes testing, many parents of gifted students contend that the emphasis on memorization suppresses the higher-level academic skills attributed to gifted programs (Matthews, 2006). With the focus of public education systems on improving the competency of their low-perfor ming students, the continuance of questions regarding the feasibility of maintaining enri chment programs for gifted students persists.

11 Matthews asserted that much of this stems from the likelihood of gifted students to demonstrate proficiency on stat es’ high-stakes assessments. The continued underrepresentation of the minority student populations in gifted programs will persist unless a procedural shift occurs among educators and other stakeholders in the nomination and identific ation processes of under-identified minority groups (Callahan, 2005). Aggravating this concer n are disparities in adequacy and equity in the funding allocations to gifted pr ograms resulting from pupil-weight programs (Baker & McIntire, 2003). Hence, the desi gn of this qualitative phenomenological study examined the lived experiences and percep tions of regular classroom teachers and African American parents to determin e factors that might influence the underrepresentation of African Am erican students in gifted programs. The findings from this study produced information that could assi st educational leader s in reevaluating and restructuring current nomination, assessment, and identification pract ices that hinder the admission of historically, underrepresente d students into gifted programs. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this qualitative phenomenol ogical study was twofold. First, the purpose was to examine the lived experiences of regular classroom teachers and African American parents who participated in the nomination of African Americans for gifted programs. Second, the purpose was to determ ine their perceptions of the nomination, assessment, and identification processes in re lation to the underrepr esentation of African American students in gifted programs. The teachers in this study represented the three major ethnic groups living within San Antoni o, Texas, which was the location for this

12 study: Hispanic, White, and African American (see Appendix P). In accordance with NCLB guidelines and for the purpose of this study, the U.S. Department of Education (2006a) defined regular classroom teachers as individuals who have met their state’s definition of highly qualified teacher as well as shown competency in teaching the basic elementary curriculum or core areas at the secondary levels. The parents’ and teachers’ perceptions de rived from this study revealed themes that supported current literature on gift edness and diversity issues regarding the underrepresentation of African American stude nts in gifted programs. By employing a modified van Kaam method of inquiry a nd analysis (Pang, Wong, Zhang, Wang, Chan, Lam, & Chan, 2004), the research respondents discussed their percep tions of giftedness as well as took part in semi-s tructured audio-recorded interv iews. Themes extracted from this study determined two predominant outcome s. First, the themes suggested how to modify the identification, nomination, and assessment processes; second, the themes challenged educational leadership to affect an organizational change within their campuses or school districts. The overall goal of this study is to encourage educational leaders to ensure that all students experien ce educational equity in accessing educational programs beyond their regular classrooms. Significance of the Problem

Full document contains 406 pages
Abstract: The problem examined in this study is that African American students remain underrepresented in the public education system's gifted and talented or gifted programs because of nomination, assessment, and identification procedures (Bonner, 2005; Ford & Moore, 2005; Joseph & Ford, 2006; Huff, Houskamp, Watkins, Stanton, & Tavegia, 2005; McGlonn-Nelson, 2005; Nugent & Shaunessy, 2003; Villarreal, 2004). The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was twofold. First, the purpose was to examine the lived experiences of 12 regular classroom teachers and 11 African American parents who participated in the nomination of African Americans for programs. Second, the purpose was to determine their perceptions of the nomination, assessment, and identification processes in relation to the underrepresentation of African American students in gifted programs. Based on a gleaning of pertinent themes and patterns within the research participants' responses, factors contributing to the underrepresentation of African Americans in gifted and talented programs include: (a) misperceptions regarding a student's race and ability; (b) the lack of parent awareness programs about issues related to gifted and talented education; (c) the need for professional development training related to the needs of minority gifted students; and (d) issues related to testing and assessment instrumentation. Recommendations to key educational leadership stakeholders (federal, state, and local education agency leadership) are to: (a) adopt a unifying Federal Government definition of giftedness for all states and inclusive of student groups underserved; (b) assess gifted and talented program effectiveness; and (c) create professional and staff development programs for K-12 educators.