Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Stella Ann Burns

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership

Second Advisor

Roger C. Cleveland

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership

Third Advisor

Peggy Petrilli

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership


Low-socio economic and/or minority students are substantially unidentified for gifted education programs. The disparities in gifted education for underrepresented students persist despite the growth in schools across the country of low income and minority students. Despite efforts to tackle equity issues in gifted education the large gaps of disproportionality persist. Explanations for this occurrence of underrepresentation is linked to the general processes for identifying gifted students, which are based largely on norm referenced standardized tests, with a single score criterion and a referral process that relies heavily on teacher and parent nominations. These identification processes tend to overlook the cultural needs and differences of students from underrepresented groups. Special consideration process as a tool to bridge the access and opportunity gap for underrepresented students in being identified as gifted is examined in this study. This hypothesis is studied using the experiences of a large urban school district following the introduction of a systematic special considerations process pilot in four schools with high representation of underrepresented populations.