Date of Award

Spring 1989

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Stephen W. Tonelson

Committee Member

Raymond F. Morgan

Committee Member

Maurice R. Berube

Committee Member

Robert Lucking

Committee Member

Donald Myers


This study examined the nomination procedures and assessment instruments employed in the gifted programs in ten urban and four rural southeastern Virginia school divisions. The procedures and instruments were examined in relation to the proportionate number of black and white children nominated for and determined eligible for the gifted program at kindergarten and grade one. The odds-ratio, a measure of association, was the primary data analysis technique employed.

In urban divisions in which K-1 membership was reported as white, black, other, white children were four times as likely to be a member of the gifted program at the end of 87-88 as black children. In rural divisions, white children were six times as likely to be a member of the gifted program as black/other children.

Most importantly, this study introduces the concept of 'Action/Inaction', which presents the identification of gifted black children within the context of each local division and community. In divisions in which the issue has been viewed by the community or division as a priority, the identification of gifted black children has been addressed assertively. The profile of an 'Action' division is an urban division which usually has a certain number of predominantly black elementary schools. The profile also includes a gifted program administrator who has six or more years of experience and who spends 100 percent of his or her time administering the gifted program.

The profile of the division least likely to seek out and find gifted black children may be described as rural, or in some cases urban, with a relatively small percentage of black children in the student population. The program administrator in the 'Inaction' division spends less than 60 percent of his or her time administering the gifted program and has five years or less experience in the position of gifted program administrator.