Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kelley Walters


The needs of academically advanced/high-ability students may not be met in today's schools. When educational needs are not met, students may not reach full potential, may lose intrinsic motivation for learning, and may develop poor work and study habits. The rural school district involved in this study lacks a formal gifted and talented program. The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological research study was to explore the lived experiences of 15 K-8 teachers in the identified school district via individual interviews. The National Association for Gifted Children's knowledge and skill standards in gifted and talented education served as the conceptual framework for this study. The research questions explored teacher training for working with academically advanced students and the skills and knowledge teachers feel they require on this topic. Possible supports and barriers to the implementation of these skills and knowledge were also addressed. Data were analyzed using Moustakas's approach to Husserl's transcendental phenomenology. Three conclusions from the findings indicated that teachers have received very little to no preservice and inservice training on the topic; district teaming situations are a training strength; and regular, on-going training on the topic of academically advanced students is necessary. Recommendations include incorporating a scope and sequence to the curriculum for academically advanced students, implementing state/federal mandates for these students, and integrating this study's conceptual framework into teacher preservice programs and staff development. In addition to contributing to potential positive social change in the school district, the results may inform training practices in other districts, preservice programs, and state policy formation, all of which can impact learning and well-being of academically advanced/high-ability students.