Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Charol Shakeshaft


This study examined the perceptions of gifted middle school students who attended one of two middle school gifted service options as they transitioned into high school. Gifted middle school students from either a center-based gifted service option or a school-based gifted service option from middle schools in a suburban district in Central Virginia participated in the study. Participants who had completed three consecutive years within the gifted service option were purposively selected for the study. Students completed a pre-transition survey at the end of their eighth grade year and a post-transition survey early in their ninth grade year. The survey asked students to identify their high school program choice and provide a reason for their choice in order to establish high school program choice trends among the different gifted service options. The surveys also assessed the differences in the students’ perceptions of the transition from middle school into the chosen high school as it pertains to academic, organizational, and social constructs of the high school program. Students from the center-based gifted program were more likely to choose to attend one of the regional Governor’s schools, and chose to do so because of personal interest and the perception of academic rigor. The students from the school-based gifted service options were more likely to choose to attend one of the district’s specialty centers, and chose to do so because of personal interest and parental encouragement. Prior to transitioning into high school, both the center-based gifted and the school based gifted students had high perceptions of the grades they earned. However, after transitioning into high school, only the center-based gifted students continued to have a high perception of grades earned. Prior to the transition into high school the center-based gifted students had higher perceptions of the academic, organizational, and social constructs. Differences were not found among the post-transition perceptions of the academic, organizational, and social constructs between the two gifted middle school groups; however, the extremely small sample size of the post-transition survey may have impacted these results.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2011