School of Education
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Primary Subject Area
Education, General; Education, Educational Psychology; Education, Curriculum and Instruction
achievers, education, gifted, underachievers
Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology | Gifted Education
Behrend, Anne, "Self-perceptions of Gifted Achievers and Underachievers: A Phenomenological Study" (2013). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 656.
Although much research exists on the academic benefits of ability grouping for highly gifted students, and considerable numbers of studies are reported in the literature concerning the emotional and social adjustment of these talented students, there is a lack of information on the reasons for the distinct disparity in the levels of achievement attained by members of this group. This study investigated, from the perceptions of the students themselves, what school factors make the difference in their motivation to succeed. The researcher examined the academic and later careers of seven gifted young people, and interviewed three of their teachers as well. The primary method of data collection was through open-ended, in-depth interviews. The findings of the study revealed that 100% of participants believed that ability grouping for high ability students was crucial to their success, and that teaching style and teacher expectations were also vitally important. The role of guidance counselors in helping this cohort to become motivated and engaged in their own education is addressed, as is the role of self-confidence in the achievement of gifted students. The effects of extra-curricular activities and acceleration are discussed as well. Finally, recommendations for educators of gifted students are offered, along with suggestions for further research.