Faculty Publications


Identification of Gifted African American Primary Grade Students through Leadership, Creativity, and Academic Performance in Curriculum Material Making and Peer-Teaching: A Case Study

Document Type



African American students, Creativity, Curriculum materials, Early childhood gifted education, Enrichment, Identification for gifted education, Leadership

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Early Childhood Education Journal





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Research into identification of gifted early childhood students of minority groups through classroom activities is lacking. A focus in the United States on students with learning challenges and a lack of awareness of educators concerning the needs of early childhood gifted students are important causes of this situation. The current case study investigated whether African American students not identified through standard achievement scores might be recognized as gifted through performance during and after a special enrichment project. Eight (four female, four male; five White, three African American) identified or potentially gifted first/second grade students from a multi-age, mixed ability, diverse classroom at an elementary school in Iowa, participated in a 12-week enrichment program to develop leadership through curriculum material making and peer teaching. School and university personnel collaborated to meet school needs: supplying challenging activities to high achievers, offering the opportunity for leadership through peer-teaching, and providing alternate means (leadership, creativity) of potentially identifying typically-achieving minority students as gifted. A pre-post class sociogram was administered to all students in the broader class (11 female 8 male). The teacher observed evidence that all participating students gained confidence and leadership skills; two of the three African American students were identified as gifted through their leadership, creativity, and academic performance during the project. Curriculum materials-making projects with integrated thinking skills like those in the current study were enriching for all participants in the current study, including classmates who were peer-taught; similar enrichment activities are recommended for primary grade students.


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

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DOI of published version