Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)


Early Childhood Education

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. L. Kathryn Sharp

Committee Members

Dr. Ruth Facun-Granadozo, Dr. Amy Malkus


This quantitative survey design study examined whether children’s ethnicity makes a difference in teachers’ referral and placement decisions in gifted and talented (G/T) programs. A total of 524 teachers from all over the United States who have taught or currently teach pre-kindergarten through 5th grade participated. The participants were randomly given one of six vignettes adapted from a previous similar study (Elhoweris et al., 2005). Participants answered whether the child described should be referred and placed into gifted and talented programs. All six vignettes described gifted and talented characteristics; the only differences were the children's ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Data was collected via an online survey powered by Qualtrics® XM distributed via social media sites. A nonparametric test was conducted. Results showed no significant difference in preK-5th grade teachers’ referral and placement decisions for G/T educational programs based on children’s ethnicity. Kruskal-Wallis H test and Mann-Whitney U tests were computed among the dependent variables and teachers’ school SES, Hispanic/Latino ethnicity, specialization, years of experience, and highest level of education. Teachers’ level of education, years of experience, and their schools’ SES were found to be significant. Findings are discussed in terms of limitations, future research, and application to the gifted and talented field.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.