Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational & Clinical Studies

First Committee Member

Kyle Higgins

Second Committee Member

Monica Brown

Third Committee Member

Joseph Morgan

Fourth Committee Member

Michael McCreery

Fifth Committee Member

Randall Boone

Number of Pages



The purpose of K-12 education in the 21st century is to graduate students fully prepared for college and careers. The skills necessary for a successful transition from postsecondary education to adulthood are the skills of self-determination. These skills include: (a) goal setting, (b) self-evaluation, (c) collaboration, (d) listening and communication, and (e) problem solving. Though elementary students with gifts and talents express an interest in career exploration, and often choose careers that require postsecondary education, they do not receive the guidance or skills to prepare them for life beyond school. No curriculum currently exists to teach these skills to students with gifts and talents.

The purpose of this study was to teach self-determination skills to students with gifts and talents. The goal was to determine the impact of systematic, structured instruction on the skills of self-determination for students with gifts and talents. Specifically this study compared the use of a structured self-determination curriculum with a traditional scope and sequence curriculum.

The results of this study demonstrate that elementary students with gifts and talents can learn the skills of self-determination through direct instruction using a structured self-determination curriculum. While the students who received the structured curriculum showed growth in their knowledge of self-determination skills over all phases of the study, the students who received the traditional scope and sequence curriculum showed no significant growth over time.


21st century skills; gifted; goal setting; self-determination; self-evaluation


Education | Gifted Education | Special Education and Teaching

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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