Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


This study explores the most evident characteristics of giftedness that students with disabilities display to their classroom teachers. This is based on the hypothesis that the perceptions that teachers have of students with disabilities is predominately negative and causes teachers to overlook strengths and possible giftedness in those students. Participants in this study are all Caucasian, female, elementary school teachers that currently educate students with disabilities in upstate New York. For each student that they were responsible for educating, participants completed a checklist containing both positively and negatively worded characteristics. These checklists were collected and analyzed.

Results from the data collected indicate that educators do have significant negative perceptions of students with disabilities. This causes them to overlook strengths and potential giftedness in these students. These findings lay the foundation for future research to be completed in order to further explore the effect that issues such as age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socio-economic status have on the perceptions that teachers have of students with disabilities and students who are of a minority.


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