Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor's Name

Peter Cistone

First Advisor's Committee Title

Co-Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Andy Pham

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Co-Committee Chair

Third Advisor's Name

Emily Dare

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Haiying Long

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


gifted, criteria, science, achievement

Date of Defense



Education policymakers have struggled for decades to provide equal opportunities for all students. Persistent disparities exist between subgroups of students, based on factors such as race, disability, ethnicity, and socio-economic status (SES), which leads to over-representation of minority students in special education and their under-representation in gifted education. Efforts to ensure equity in school districts in identification and support of minority and low SES students have been lagging. Failing to reach students’ potential and educating them with appropriately challenging curriculum is a disservice not only to them, but also to our nation. Although gifted programs were developed with the intent to improve educational opportunities for all students, inequities exist in identification of gifted students, leading to inequitable learning outcomes.

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between gifted selection criteria and performance on fifth-grade science achievement. The researcher applied a non-experimental ex post facto research design to investigate the differences in gifted enrollment eligibility criterion and factors within the model to better understand these differences, including SES of gifted students; gender; ethnicity; and standardized scores in science, English Language Arts (ELA), and math. Using an archived 2018–2019 dataset obtained from 42 Miami-Dade County Public Schools, data were analyzed from 1,072 fifth-grade students who completed science, ELA, and mathematics standardized tests of achievement.

Results from t-tests revealed differences between gifted enrollment pathways and performance in science assessments. A linear regression analysis revealed that math and ELA scores predicted achievement in science, and the different eligibility criterion also positively predicted science performance. SES uniquely contributed to the relationship of the gifted eligibility criterion in predicting science performance.

Additionally, implications from this research for educational policymakers are to focus on exerting efforts to ensure that based on these findings, as well as other existing studies, selection criteria for gifted programs will meet the needs of the diverse population of students.





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