Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership and Curriculum

First Reader/Committee Chair

Piller, Bonnie


This observational study surveyed the engagement of fifth-grade gifted students who spend the majority of their academic day in a general education classroom. This study looked at students in a K-6 public school district in Southern California. This study was a qualitative study with some quantitative data to confirm observational findings. The methods included observations, observational notes, audio and video recordings. After the observations the recordings were reviewed to assure the observational notes accurately portrayed the actions of the target students. The measures included student surveys, observational data via the Behavioral Observation of Students in Schools instrument, and teacher interviews. The short response portion of the student surveys and the teacher interviews were coded and analyzed for common themes. The research questions that dictated the direction of this study included: Is student engagement altered by use of differentiated curriculum, if so is it increased or decreased with more appropriate assignments for gifted students? Do students put forth the same effort with more complex assignments as with easier assignments? Do fifth-grade gifted students show signs of a lack of student engagement? Further research may include expanding the study to include more students from various school districts to ascertain if the findings are consistent with other groups of students.