Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Kathy Escamilla

Second Advisor

Margarita Bianco

Third Advisor

Sue Hopewell

Fourth Advisor

Deb Palmer

Fifth Advisor

Esther Brown


Gifted, bilingual students are underrepresented in gifted education. The reasons are examined in the literature and include unfair assessments, varying definitions of giftedness, lack of teacher training or clear guidelines, and teachers’ perceptions. The purpose of this qualitative, multi-case study is to add to the lack of research currently available on the experiences of gifted bilingual students. This investigation centers on 4 students in a K-8, public, dual language school in an urban district, and sought to answer these research questions: (a) What are the nomination and identification processes used to determine the need for gifted education? (b) What are the experiences of these students in this school? (c) What are the instructional practices used to serve them? The findings from this study show that while GT support improved, more was needed at the school level, classroom teachers need more professional development to understand how to support gifted bilingual students, more instructional strategies are needed to support gifted bilingual students in the classroom, and the guidelines used for identifying and programming gifted bilingual students are confusing and insufficient to best meet the needs of this special population of students. The implications from the findings of this study will add to what is known about the nomination and identification practices used with gifted bilingual students, to understand the challenges and successes of gifted bilingual students in an academic setting, and the instructional practices used with gifted bilingual students in a dual language school setting. Also, important implications from this study stem from the findings on how nomination and identification practices might add to the problem of the underrepresentation of gifted bilingual students in GT programs, and that instructional practices used may not meet the needs of this special population of students.