Date of Award

Winter 2002

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum, Instruction, and Leadership

First Advisor

Pauline Leonard


In 1995, the Office for Civil Rights conducted a compliance review of the Bayou Parish School System (a pseudonym) in Louisiana. The review revealed a statistically significant underrepresentation of African-American students in the Bayou Parish gifted program. This case study examined how African-American representation in a gifted program may be increased through the use of research-based interventions implemented by the Office for Civil Rights.

The researcher used both quantitative and qualitative methods to collect and analyze data. Documents from the Office for Civil Rights and the Louisiana Department of Education were examined to: (a) show patterns of African-American and nonminority student populations in the Bayou Parish gifted program from 1994 to 2001 and (b) obtain a detailed description of the interventions created by the Office for Civil Rights for the purpose of increasing the gifted African-American population. A member of the Bayou Parish Pupil Appraisal Team involved with gifted student testing was interviewed to supplement this information.

The results from these data showed that the percent in the identified gifted African-American population increased from 8.0 percent in 1994 to 12.9 percent in 2001. The Office for Civil Rights believed the increase in identified gifted African-American students to be a result of (a) an increase in the number of students referred for an initial gifted screening by teachers and parents, (b) adoptions of new IQ tests that were believed to be less culture-biased, and (c) lowering the initial screening cutoff score by one point to allow more African-American students the opportunity for an individual evaluation.

ANOVA, descriptive statistics, and interviews were used to examine differences in the beliefs of groups of teachers based on their demographic information. Teachers agreed that (a) gifted student identification should include the use of qualitative data, (b) giftedness can develop in children over a period of time, and (c) the gifted identification system should be periodically re-evaluated. They were uncertain about the use of culture-fair tests and the sole use of standardized tests to identify giftedness. Teachers' beliefs about giftedness were attained through (a) special education and psychology classes in which giftedness was discussed, (b) inservice training, and (c) exposure to their schools' gifted program. The college courses seemed to have had the strongest influence on teachers' conceptions of giftedness.