Date of Award

Winter 1-1-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy In Urban Education Degree


Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Maccluskie, Kathryn C.

Second Advisor

Anne Galletta

Third Advisor

Andrew B. Slifkin


Given the historic underrepresentation of minority and low-income students in gifted programs, this study sought to address the unique characteristics of the gifted student while also considering the uniqueness of the student’s school community. The initial design compared the use of dynamic intellectual assessment to traditional (or static) assessment for identifying eligibility in such programs. COVID-19 restrictions determined a redesign, since this national emergency precluded access to school buildings by students, staff, and families, which meant the comparison of assessment instruments would not be possible. As a result, a qualitative case study was employed, examining related research questions important to the problem of underrepresentation among minority and low-income students. The research question is as follows: In a school serving a predominantly African American community, how do stakeholders describe what they see in children who reveal a “gifted spark”? What do stakeholders identify as resources that nurture children with potential gifts and talents and what do they see as obstacles? Interviews were conducted with teachers, parents, and administrators via the Zoom online platform. Findings suggest that stakeholder perceptions understand giftedness as evident in a variety of realms including intellectual ability, academic achievement, creativity, and leadership. Participants also proposed the possibility of a “leadership community” to v nurture the gifted student within the school community, where there is no designated “gifted” program. The study contributes to the literature in conceptualizing giftedness from the perspective of teachers, administrators, and parents in an educational setting serving a high population of Black/African-American students. It points to strategies and resources for addressing the problem of underrepresentation, including the use of alternative assessment instruments.