Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Elizabeth Shaunessy-Dedrick, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

J. Howard Johnston, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Laura Sabella, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Alisha Braun, Ph.D.


educational policy, equity, gifted, Plan B, proportionality, representation


In this study, I examined representation rates of gifted students from diverse backgrounds in Florida county school districts. Florida state legislation governing gifted student education allows for alternative identification methods to be used for students from underrepresented groups if plans for such identification are approved by the Florida Department of Education; however, this option, informally referred to as “Plan B” after subsection B of the legislation governing gifted services, is not a requirement that districts must follow. Consequently, there are large differences in the ways districts identify underrepresented students for gifted services. State legislation identifies underrepresented populations as students with limited English proficiency (LEP) and students from low socioeconomic status (LSES) backgrounds. I reviewed Florida school district enrollment data for the last five years and compared mean gifted representation rates for underrepresented populations in districts with Plan B to mean representation rates in districts without Plan B. My findings indicate that the existence of a Plan B for identification of gifted students with LEP or from LSES backgrounds is associated with higher representation rates of such students in gifted education programs. This has policy implications for Florida as the state’s PK-12 population is becoming more diverse. Policy considerations should include requirements to take active measures in identification of gifted students from diverse populations and formalized teacher education programs that describe the nature and needs of gifted students from diverse backgrounds.