Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Public Management and Policy

First Advisor

David L Sjoquist

Second Advisor

James W Ainsworth

Third Advisor

Gary T Henry

Fourth Advisor

Gordon Kingsley

Fifth Advisor

Mary Beth Walker

Abstract

The central research question is the extent to which gifted programming affects student academic outcomes of gifted as compared to not-gifted students and how this differs by race/ethnicity and/or poverty status. Since the identification of elementary school students as gifted is not random, propensity score matching is used to remove this bias in the estimates of the effects. A matched sample of North Carolina middle school students based on individual level data of both gifted and not-gifted students of varied racial/ethnic groups and income levels is used for this analysis. This enables a comparison of sixth, seventh, and eighth grade student achievement to determine the extent to which participating in gifted programming differentiates effects by race/ethnicity and poverty status. I show the additional test score gain, if any, from being in gifted programming compared to students not participating in gifted programs. Variations in gifted program effects across race/ethnicity and income are assessed. This research adds empirical evidence to the more qualitatively focused gifted debate by analyzing differences in student outcomes between gifted and not-gifted students in North Carolina. Since black and lower income students are less likely to participate in gifted programs, they disproportionately encounter less experienced teachers, lower expectations, and fewer resources. The extent to which these additional learning supports translate to differences in student outcomes are analyzed.

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