Date of Defense



Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies

First Advisor

Lisbeth Lutz

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Farber


In an average elementary classroom, students of many different ability levels come together to work as a group toward higher learning. Teachers make an effort to teach to all levels, but most often end up teaching to the lower end of the class while the more talented students are left to learn on their own. Extremely talented students, those who have special intellectual gifts, may suffer greatly in this type of environment. There are many gifted students in our nation's schools, and these exceptional young people have great potential that may not be realized in the average classroom. Gifted students in the United States are often not given the attention or consideration that they deserve because they are high-functioning and appear capable of learning on their own. It is important, however, for educators, parents, and government officials to realize the importance of programs for these students. These individuals can add much to our world, but only if they are given the opportunity to grow and to excel. It is essential that they receive an education that can support their gifts and encourage their growth. This paper will look at the background on gifted students, educational and psychological characteristics of such students, and the identification process for being considered "gifted." It will then examine the history of programs for the gifted, and look at current programs and their effectiveness. Finally, it will present controversial issues in regard to gifted education that our educational system needs to consider in order to best serve these students.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only