Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education

First Advisor

Elinor Katz, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Norma Hafenstein

Third Advisor

Carolyn Elverenli

Fourth Advisor

Janette Benson


Achievement, Adolescents, Affective needs, Gifted education, Social and emotional, Whole child


Research indicates that social and emotional factors play a very important role in the achievement levels of all learners and especially so for gifted populations. This qualitative multi-case study was designed to explore, with a sample of secondary level gifted students, their lived experiences and the influences that contribute to their learning success. The rationale for this study stems from the researcher's desire to discover ways to better support secondary gifted students and to help them find more engagement and passion in school.

The purposefully selected sample was composed of five students at the middle and high school levels who had been previously identified as gifted. Additionally, another 17 participants (parents, teachers, administrators, counselors, and one school board member) were included in the study to lend further insight into the experiences of the student participants. The primary data collection method was in-depth interviews. Supportive methods included multiple classroom observations and document analysis. The data were coded and organized according to the researcher's questions. Analysis and interpretation of findings were organized according to this abbreviated conceptual framework: (a) Intrinsic and extrinsic influences; (b) Programming; (c) Achievement; (d) Relationships; (e) Affective struggles; (f) Understanding;

This research revealed that affective factors influenced these students greatly (in positive and negative ways) and these social and emotional student needs are rarely addressed at school. Further, it was discovered that the students lacked meaningful relationships with teachers at school and that there was a general lack of understanding about giftedness across all sections of this learning community.

Recommendations are made for the school district, specific school sites, teachers, parents, and students as well as for future research possibilities.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jacquelynn Anne Truckey


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

171 p.


Secondary education, Educational psychology, Special education