Title

Teachers' beliefs about culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse gifted students

Date of Completion

January 2006

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate teachers' beliefs about culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse (CLED) gifted students. There is no baseline information about what teachers believe about CLED students' potential. The newly developed Teachers' Beliefs About Culturally, Linguistically, and Economically Diverse Gifted Students Survey (De Wet. 2005) was administered to a stratified, random sample of 4,000 teachers from 8 states, 4 with (FL, GA, TX and VA) and 4 without mandates for gifted education (CA, CO, IL, MA). Five hundred teachers (grades 3-5) were selected from each of the 8 states. A disappointing 308 surveys were returned representing a low 7.7% response rate. ^ Respondents believed that it would benefit gifted programs if CLED students are included, above average abilities are found in all economic strata and cultural groups, and IQ and standardized tests do not accurately reflect CLED students' abilities. Three factors resulted from factor analysis of the survey: Benefits of Including CLED Students in Gifted Programs (n = 10, α = .876). Universality of Abilities (n = 6, α = .734), and Assessment of Abilities (n = 6, α =.717). One-way MANOVAs did not yield significant group differences between mean scale scores on the factors for heterogeneity of schools where respondents worked (White or diverse) or type of training respondents had (no specialized training, bilingual only, gifted only, and bilingual and gifted training). Significant group differences were found on three factors as a result of whether respondents worked in a state with a mandate for gifted education or not. ^ Teachers believed that formation of their epistemological beliefs about CLED students were influenced by personal experiences with diverse populations or specific students, and that barriers exist to the inclusion of CLED students in gifted programs. The most often mentioned barriers were ineffective and inappropriate identification procedures, the language barrier, and the need for teacher training. ^ This study is significant because it provides baseline information about teachers' beliefs, gives insight into why CLED students are still under identified, and a reliable instrument was developed to assess teachers' beliefs about gifted CLED students. ^