Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Gifted primary grade students, those in grades one through three, have interests and abilities similar to their age mates. The main difference is the depth to which they want to learn and explore these interests. However, due to the lack of programming for this age group, untrained teachers, and parents who are uncertain of their role, these children are underserved when it comes to meeting their needs. There are three issues that contribute to the primary grade gifted student being underserved. The first issue is lack of programming. The majority of educational programs for gifted students are designed for students in third grade or above. Programs for younger children need to be developed with a focus on blending what is developmentally appropriate with the challenging activities that they need. The second issue is that of teacher preparation. Primary grade teachers generally have little background in identifying and working with gifted children. . . When parents approach them with information about their child, the teachers do not know where to start. In-services that focus on gifted students and encouragement to attend workshops would benefit all students and the teachers. The third issue relates to the role of the parents. Parents are usually the ones who recognize the potential the child has. Quite often, however, they are not believed by school professionals or they hold back information for fear of what will be said about them or their child. What is important to remember is that the sooner the teacher and parents work together the better off the child will be. The earlier the intervention the more effective it will be for the child and his/her learning. Concerns about the potential problems of underachievement, poor self concept and negative attitudes about learning, also supports early intervention. Self-concepts and attitudes about learning are established early. If a child is left unidentified he/she may try to "blend in" so as not to appear different. Gifted primary grade students have a desire to learn new things and often look at school · as the place to do this. It is disillusioning for them to arrive at school and go over material they already know. The idea is established that school is not a place to learn. They do enough to get by and possibly do not reach their potential. The gifted primary grade student is an at-risk student unless the primary grade teachers are willing to become teachers of the gifted.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Division of Gifted Education

First Advisor

Barbara D. O'Donnell

Second Advisor

Linda May Fitzgerald


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Date Original


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