Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Donald J. Dessart

Committee Members

A. Paul Wishart, Arnold R. Davis, J.J. Bellon


The identification of children who are gifted is common in schools of the United States. High I.Q. and achievement scores are traditionally used. This study explored the adequacy of these variables in mathematics education. Based on the Renzulli model for giftedness, the study assessed problem solving ability, and task commitment. Only students identified as having above average general ability were selected as subjects. Eighty-seven sixth graders were selected from three Knox County, Tennessee, middle schools to form six groups. These groups were stratified as high (128 or above), mid upper(116-127), and average (95-115) I.Q. scores coupled with either a mathematics achievement score of at least the 96th percentile or one of the 50th through the 95th percentile. No subject was state certified gifted at the time of testing. Since I.Q. and achievement scores are used in Tennessee to certify gifted students, the study addressed the question of whether the performance of students in Group I (highest I.Q. and achievement range and eligible for gifted certification) was significantly different from that of other groups. No significant differences in student performance, p < .05, were found between Group I and other groups having high achievement scores (III and V) except for task commitment in Group V. These three groups represented an I.Q. range from average to the highest possible scores. Group I differed significantly only from Group VI (average I.Q./average-mid upper achievement) in all measures. The conclusions of the study were:

1. A particular I.Q. range is inadequate as a criterion for identifying gifted students in mathematics.

2. A particular mathematics achievement range could serve as a factor in identification.

3. Students who are certified gifted by I.Q. and achievement scores in some other subject area are not necessarily gifted in mathematics.

4. Because some students who appear gifted in mathematics are being overlooked by traditional measures, tests similar to those of this study should be used in addition to other measures for the identification of students gifted in mathematics.

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