Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Karen Buchanan

Second Advisor

Dr. Gary Sehorn

Third Advisor

Dr. Susanna Thornhill


With accountability pressures to help all students reach grade-level proficiency, the needs of gifted students may be neglected. This qualitative phenomenological study explores the nature of intellectually gifted students in a suburban elementary setting in the Pacific Northwest. After several close observations with six participants in grades 2-5, semi-structured conversational interviews revealed recurring feelings of frustration, constraint, and missed opportunities in classrooms. Participants claimed that school was not challenging and they did not learn much. When classroom life did not provide intellectual stimulation, gifted students often engaged in reading. The voices of intellectually gifted students show how they experience life in the classroom. Implications of the findings for rethinking professional development, placement and grouping models, and soliciting the voice of gifted students to influence system improvements are discussed.