Date Awarded


Document Type

Dissertation -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




While research in gifted education has been conducted in specific curriculum areas such as language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and fine arts, there is a paucity of literature connecting gifted and world language education. While world languages historically were elective courses at the high school level, attracting college bound students, world language credit requirements for high school graduation or college admission have expanded, encouraging enrollment in Advanced Placement world language courses for a broader range of learners. Since Advanced Placement options are still the current face of gifted services at the secondary level, there is a need for differentiated pedagogy in AP classrooms for secondary gifted learners, a need often not addressed (Hertberg-Davis, Callahan, & Kyburg, 2006). In most states AP teachers are not required to be trained in gifted education instructional practices, and their perceptions toward gifted students are unknown. This survey research study collected data from Advanced Placement world language teachers regarding their perceptions of high ability world language students and self-assessed use of differentiated instructional approaches. Instrumentation included the Gagne and Nadeau (1991) scale of teacher perceptions toward gifted students, the William and Mary Classroom Observation Scale-Revised (VanTassel-Baska, Avery, Struck, Feng, Bracken, Drummond, & Stambaugh, 2005) which assessed teacher behaviors with respect to differentiation practices, and a researcher-created questionnaire which collected participant demographic data. In this descriptive study, findings indicated teachers held somewhat positive attitudes toward providing needs and support for gifted students and the social value of gifted persons in society. Teachers held ambivalent attitudes about the instructional practice of ability grouping, the rejection of gifted students by others, and the practice of actively advocating for gifted learners. Teachers reported somewhat negative attitudes toward the instructional practice of appropriate acceleration. Findings further revealed limited teacher use of differentiated strategies in the AP classroom, limited teacher training in gifted education pedagogy, yet a positive relationship between high and low student achievement and teachers' training background in gifted education. Implications for practice from this study focus on the need for gifted education training for Advanced Placement world language teachers on the characteristics of high ability students and differentiated instructional practices that are found to be effective for increased student achievement. Specifically, professional development is needed for teachers that address (1) differentiated curriculum for the gifted with an emphasis on remodeling AP curriculum to meet high ability student needs, and (2) the use of advanced instructional practices with specific information regarding effective delivery and classroom management techniques. Implications for research include the need for more studies on AP teachers' attitudes and practices in relation to gifted learners and a set of studies focusing on effective instructional practices for teaching world languages.



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