A Toolkit for Teacher Recognition of Underachieving Gifted Students: An Intervention Study with Victorian Teachers

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Lyons, Kerri May (2023) A Toolkit for Teacher Recognition of Underachieving Gifted Students: An Intervention Study with Victorian Teachers. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


It was estimated in 2012 there were up to 42,500 underachieving gifted students in Victoria (ETC 2012a). With over one million students in Victoria (DET 2022b), using Gagné’s (2020a) estimate of 10% and the ETC’s (2012a) report of up to 50%, there could be as many as 50,000 gifted students underachieving. As educators we need to improve outcomes for all students by having the skills, abilities, and confidence to provide an appropriate curriculum for all students. Identification of underachievement, giftedness and underachieving gifted students involves an understanding of what constitutes giftedness in children and students, including characteristics and indicators used for identification, and the knowledge about implementing an identification procedure. The Victorian Government (2012a) suggested an online toolkit as the strategy for identification of gifted students. By early 2018, a toolkit had not been developed, so the researcher collated and edited numerous resources during 2018 and early 2019, in order to produce a toolkit that contained over 30 checklists, rating scales and questionnaires. It was not until late 2019 that the Victorian Government developed an online ‘High-ability’ toolkit for teachers (DET 2020). Teachers were not able to access this strategy until 2020. Within this toolkit there is one resource for identification purposes (Neihart and Betts 2010). This resource is also located in the researcher’s toolkit under the ACT Government resource. This research involved Teacher Agency Theory (TAT) with an objective to help teachers achieve agency in giftedness. This theory seeks to identify the goals and outcomes that researchers and teachers pursue. These goals are intentional and effective in that they incorporate both purpose and action. This theory incorporated interpretivism as the epistemology for this research. The researcher sought to interpret the teacher’s beliefs, understandings, and knowledge of the concept of giftedness in order to understand why so many gifted students, underachieve and to ascertain the viability of a toolkit for recognition of giftedness. Methodologically this research used qualitative research methods which involved: a survey that investigated the participants’ understandings and views on giftedness and underachievement; semi-structured interviews which was used as a strategy of inquiry; and an intervention study that tested the efficacy of the developed toolkit. This study involved teachers with varying degrees of knowledge on underachievement and giftedness. Using experts in the field of giftedness for the survey responses revealed that most of the participants had limited knowledge on giftedness with the remaining participants having only emergent knowledge on giftedness. Even though the survey responses revealed there were no participants who had expertise knowledge on giftedness, some participants believed they were experts. This intervention was employed to determine the toolkits’ impact and effectiveness. The results of the survey have indicated an increase in the awareness of the characteristics and behaviours of giftedness. The implementation of the toolkit was deemed by the participants to have increased their knowledge on underachievement and giftedness, particularly with an underachieving gifted student. After implementing the toolkit, the participants believe they are now able to identify giftedness, especially underachieving gifted students.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/47236
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3904 Specialist studies in education
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords gifted students; gifted children; giftedness; underachievement; teachers; toolkit; Teacher Agency Theory; Victoria
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