The current research sought to understand the social and emotional development of identified gifted and talented (G/T) elementary students through a mixed-methods concurrent design study. Researchers collected data from G/T students, parents, and teachers in five school districts in the southern USA to better understand G/T students’ self-concept in different grade levels during elementary school. Students were interviewed one on one using both open and closed interview questions by trained researchers. In addition, parents and teachers responded to surveys and open-ended questions regarding their G/T students. A convergent parallel mixed methods design was used to best create an overall interpretation of G/T students’ self-concept development. Interview transcripts were analyzed and cross-validated among researchers. Themes were developed from codes from student interviews, and themes were also created from parent and teacher surveys to closed-questions. Follow up analyses were conducted to determine correlations between students’ self-concept scores and age. An ANOVA was also conducted to determine differences between self-concept scores and grade level. Results suggest that G/T students’ self-concept declined as grade level increased and was strongly related to the type of gifted program and method of notification for entrance into the gifted program. In addition, parent and teacher perceptions of G/T students related to student self-concept. The results and findings of this study suggest that a lack of understanding regarding the definition and implications of being identified as gifted exists not only for gifted children but also for their parents. Schools may work to better inform parents and students of what it means to be gifted and what challenges may exist in self-concept development.
gifted education, elementary school student, self-concept