Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Bruce Boyles


Middle school students (Grades 6-8) face a unique set of challenges. Add a gifted and talented (GT) identification, and the need for differentiation in instruction for the exceptional adolescent becomes critical. This research focused on specific practices such as ability grouping, curriculum compaction, providing students choice, problem-based learning, and professional development among others in a primarily rural school district. This mixed methods research used an explanatory sequential design and sought to examine what practices are being used in a middle school GT sixth-grade science classroom using a survey instrument to assess frequency of practice. The results of the survey indicated some best practices are present, but the frequency of practice is minimal. It also sought to understand if there is any relationship to how students served in the GT science classroom did on the state achievement test (SCPASS Science). The results of an independent t test using unequal variances revealed that the district of study, as a whole, showed no statistically significant growth on the state test following implementation. Focus groups were used to assess both teachers' and instructional leaders’ satisfaction. There was general dissatisfaction but also an acknowledgement that the implementation of the program has some positive outcomes which could be built upon. There appears to be a relationship between minimal best practice and overall growth that was not statistically significant on the state assessment. Recommendations for future action and research may help a gifted program in its early stages become more effective.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Included in

Education Commons