Date of Award

Summer 6-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Brad Hanson

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Kathy Grover


Throughout this journey, there were many challenges. I did not conquer the challenges alone, as there were a number of people who shared their wisdom, support, and guidance to assist me throughout the process and in the completion of my dissertation. I would like to express my thanks to my dissertation chair, Dr. Brad Hanson, and committee members, Dr. Kathy Grover and Dr. Sherry DeVore. Their knowledge and experience provided me with opportunities to learn and grow academically. The professional advice I received from them assisted in the advancement of the research and writing process of this colossal task. Their guidance and support aided in my achievement of academic goals. I would like to thank my colleagues for their support throughout the process and for their assistance in the study. I would also like to thank the teachers and students who participated in the study. Finally, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to my family, who have continually supported me throughout this journey. I would like to thank my husband, Jason Macy; my son, Brendon Roberts; and my sister, Christi Sanderson. They were key players in my motivation, inspiration, and determination throughout the process. They triumphed with me during successes and encouraged me through times of defeat with constant patience and love. I would also like to thank my mother, Ila Scott, for always encouraging and supporting me through the trials and triumphs of life. iii Abstract Underachievement in gifted students is a problem often overlooked in the school system; up to 50% of gifted students achieve below their potential abilities (Morisano & Shore, 2010). However, gifted students are not considered at-risk and do not always receive educational experiences aimed to meet their needs (Ritchotte, Matthews, & Flowers, 2014). The risk of gifted underachievement is a problem for educators and a loss to society (Ritchotte et al., 2014; Steenbergen-Hu & Olszewski-Kubilius, 2016). In this quantitative study, survey responses from gifted achievers and underachievers were analyzed to determine differences in educational experiences and attitudes toward school and learning. Additionally, data from teachers were analyzed to determine if they perceive themselves as properly trained to meet the affective and academic needs of gifted students. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to understand whether the perceived value of educational experiences and attitudes toward school and learning differed among achieving and underachieving gifted students. The test showed no statistically significant difference between the two groups. Frequency distribution indicated the mode of responses to the teacher surveys. While some teachers use effective strategies in their classrooms to meet the needs of gifted students, other do not. Most teachers admitted to having limited training in gifted education. With lack of specialized teacher training and underachievement of the nation’s brightest students, a problem exists which needs to be addressed by educational systems to provide appropriate educational experiences to students with the potential for successful futures to benefit society.


Copyright 2017