Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Abstract This dissertation examines representation of African Americans in gifted programs in an urban school district where the creation of gifted programs was enacted as a tool for desegregation. The research is conducted from the perspectives of gifted African American students in an effort to shed some light on whether an achievement gap exists or is the makeup of the program itself a deterrent to the enrollment of African American students. A qualitative study was conducted using personal narratives from students who were enrolled in a self-contained gifted program in the urban school districts. The participants gave personal interviews where they answered a series of questions which recanted stories and details of their middle or high school years in a gifted program. Three African American females participated in the research. Each female was enrolled in a gifted program for at least three years. The interviews were collected and coded for similar phrases and responses to questions about the experience of an African American in gifted programs. Findings in the research revealed that African Americans were in the minority in each participant’s individual gifted program. In addition, each participant revealed that she had no more than two African American teachers throughout the three years she was enrolled in a gifted program. Participants further revealed that she experienced cultural isolation from other African American students who were not in the gifted program. Each participant reported experiencing bias from teachers, traditional students, and fellow gifted students.



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Committee Chair

Fasching-Varner, Kenneth



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