Date Approved

2013

Date Posted

9-16-2013

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Ronald Williamson, Ed.D., Chair

Committee Member

Phyllis Curtiss, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Janet Fisher, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Jaclynn C. Tracy, Ph.D.

Abstract

A resurgence of interest in gifted students and gifted education highlights the importance of examining attitudes of school psychologists related to the identification and programming for gifted students. This study explored the relationships between professional experiences, personal experiences, demographics, and previous training and the attitudes of school psychologists toward gifted students and gifted education.

A sample of 125 state-certified school psychologists in Michigan participated in a two-part, web-based survey, which provided descriptive data and measured attitudes toward gifted students and their education. Data were analyzed using a combination of descriptive and inferential statistics.

Seven findings were notable in this study: 1) Respondents to this study are generally supportive of gifted students and their education, although they held a neutral or slightly negative view of accelerating gifted students. 2) Male school psychologists, more than female, consider gifted education to be elitist. 3) Demographic factors, including age, ethnicity, years of service, and education level are not statistically significant in relation to participating school psychologists’ attitudes toward gifted education. 4) School psychologists who report themselves or those close to them as gifted are also likely to have had more training in gifted education in graduate school, and 5) school psychologists who work with regular education students show a greater likelihood of reporting themselves or those around them as gifted. 6) school psychologists who work with regular education students tend to have a more negative view towards the gifted population than those who do not work with regular education students, and 7) school psychologists who feel that their vi training in special education was less than adequate, also tend to view gifted students more negatively.

The findings in this study suggested that positive attitudes about the gifted and thus, behavior leading toward increased interest in working with all children with special needs, would improve if more graduate school training about giftedness and one-on-one experiences with gifted students were available. Acting upon changes suggested in the literature and the findings of this study, schools could improve the attitudes of school psychologists and better ensure that gifted students are properly identified and engaged in programming well-suited to their needs. These changes would benefit this often-underserved special population that has unlimited potential to serve this nation and mankind.

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