Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
This study addressed a gap in local practice where the IMPACT! and EXCEL programs for gifted students only received anecdotal evaluation. Despite the existence of established standards, programming for gifted students rarely undergoes rigorous evaluation at the local, state, or national levels. The research project consisted of a summative goal-based evaluation that reported the degree to which the school district's programming met national standards and to identify strengths and weaknesses. The researcher conducted qualitative inquiry of an intrinsic case study to evaluate the programming at a single school district under the theoretical frameworks of pragmatism, differentiated instruction, and self-efficacy. Educators answered a census style survey reporting categorical ratings on each element of the gifted standards with additional explanatory comments on open ended questions. The mode response of the categorical ratings was reported and open ended answers were analyzed using a hybrid coding method. Results showed strength in curriculum and instruction, program design, and identification items with most of these in place in the district. The affective needs and professional development categories had lower scores, with educators citing a lack of social emotional and pedagogical training specific to gifted students. The project was an evaluation report with an action plan devised to improve professional development offerings, increase educator's abilities to address social emotional learning. Historically, programming for gifted students has been considered uninspiring and ineffective and is rarely systematically evaluated and improved. Thus, the project promotes social change by reversing this gap in practice and has potential to benefit the upcoming generation of gifted learners and the local community.