Date of Award

Spring 3-2016

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Victoria Graf

Second Advisor

Mary K. McCullough

Third Advisor

Magaly Lavadenz


The under-representation of racial minority students in Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)programs has been an issue with little to no resolution (Ford, 2002). These under-represented racial minority groups are experiencing the obstacles of discrimination. Ogbu’s (1987) observation offers a framework distinguishing minorities: voluntary and involuntary. Researchers report on the under-representation of “involuntary” minority groups (McBee, 2006).

Researchers have offered keys to opening the gates of GATE programs to bring about racial equity. Recruitment processes: alternative assessments and teacher referrals are available to identify minority GATE students (Elhoweris, Mutua, Alsheikh, & Holloway, 2005). Retention practices: racial diversity of gate teachers, culturally responsive pedagogy, culturally responsive curriculum, and a classroom culture of caring are available to support racial minority gate students once in the program (Delpit, 2006).

This mixed-methods study is of one school’s GATE program, Multicultural Middle School (MMS). The study used descriptive statistics to analyze percentages of racial representation of MMS’s GATE students and GATE teachers. The study also used questionnaires, observations, and interviews to analyze MMS’s GATE teachers’ knowledge and practices in regards to the research-based recruitment processes and retention practices of underrepresented racial minorities.

This study found that the voluntary racial minority group was over-represented and one of four involuntary racial groups was under-represented. This study also found that MMS’s GATE program had achieved racial equity in three of the four involuntary racial minority groups. At the time of this study, MMS’s GATE program was trending toward equity.