Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Cathryn White


A substantial disparity exists between the proportion of students of color, (SOC), compared to White students in gifted and talented (GT) education. The problem of SOC not being proportionately identified for the GT program relative to the total school population at a Southeastern U.S. suburban school district was the problem addressed in this study. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to identify educators’ perspectives of how the GT identification process supports or hinders the identification of SOC. Using Warne’s theory of GT identification, and Renzulli’s theory of intelligence, the research questions focused on educators’ perspectives of how the GT identification process supported or hindered the identification of SOC in local, exemplar districts. Using an appreciative inquiry approach, an approach that is used to strengthen leadership and institutional change processes, 7 exemplar school districts that met the criteria of being geographically near and similar to the target district, and that proportionally served 10% or more SOC in GT than the target district were identified. Interviews of 11 purposefully sampled educators who had: (a) knowledge of the identification process for GT students, and (b) taught or supervised GT students for at least 1 year were interviewed. Open coding, and a priori were used to identify codes, categories, and themes. Educators’ perspectives were synthesized into four themes that GT identification was supported by service designs systems that were (a) multifaceted, and (b) student-centered, and GT identification was hindered by (c) institutional culture, and (d) parent language and experiences. The project, a policy recommendation, contributes to social change by providing recommendations to cultivate GT identification and services to promote greater inclusivity and support for SOC in their educational journeys.