Date of Award

5-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Sherry M. Bell

Committee Members

David F. Cihak, Tara C. Moore, Jennifer A. Morrow

Abstract

The lack of cohesion and oversight in federal and state laws that outline identifying and serving gifted/high ability students have been cited by researchers and practitioners as a hindrance in the development of programming designed to serve these populations (National Association for Gifted Children, 2014). Controversy over definitions of giftedness and the role of schools in identifying and serving gifted students indicate that policy and practice in gifted education are highly inconsistent. In partial response, researchers in gifted education have begun to call for the extension of the response-to-intervention (RTI) model to identify and serve gifted students, leading to questions centered on the validity of curriculum-based measures (CBM) used for gifted screening (Burns, Jacob, & Wagner, 2008). This study expands the literature of the field by examining the validity of CBM for gifted screening, the accuracy of teacher perception, and the adequacy of measures taken early in the school year for gifted screening when necessitated by the absence of formal measures traditionally used. Two early measures in reading and math, a qualitative, domain-specific teacher rank and a CBM universal screener, were administered to 372 third graders in a rural school district and results were compared to a quantitative, norm-referenced measure taken at the year’s end. The relation between early and late measures is examined to assess the utility of early measures for making educational placement decisions for gifted students. The CBM examined here demonstrated appropriate psychometric properties (sufficient item gradient at the upper end and scores greater than 2 standard deviations above the mean) for effective use in gifted screening. Teacher ranking proved to be a strong predictor of future performance on standardized testing, and when used in combination with the CBM as early measures, yielded an 80% accuracy rate in group assignment when using the later measure as a standard of determination, though reading measures performed more strongly than math measures. Results generate increased confidence in the efficacy of early indicators of student performance for making quotidian planning and placement classroom decisions regarding gifted and high-ability students.

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