Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, PhD

Committee Chair

Ingle, William

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Johnson, Detra

Committee Member

Brydon-Miller, Mary

Committee Member

Brooms, Derrick

Author's Keywords

discrimination; self-efficacy; lived experiences; academic persistence; microaggression; racism


The purpose of this research study was to explore the lived experiences of gifted African American males in grades 6-8. Specifically, the study examined how gifted African American males perceived and understood their participation in a gifted program and how their sense of self-efficacy shaped their disposition and approach toward academic persistence. Much of the literature published on the social, emotional, and academic success of gifted African American males has focused on college-aged students, therefore the current study is crucial in contributing to the body of knowledge on African American males, in particular, those identified as gifted during early adolescence (Ford, 2005). Additionally, voices of gifted African American males have been disregarded, yet are quintessential to understanding how they create meaning from their experiences. This study utilized interpretive phenomenological analysis as a means of synthesizing and making sense from the themes which emerged in the study. Analysis of the data indicated that gifted African American males found the issue of underrepresentation and relationships with teachers and peers to have the most influence in understanding their experiences in a gifted program. The findings also revealed that scholar identity and the shaping of self-efficacy, driven by a need to succeed, influenced their academic persistence. The findings discussed give insight into the challenges and triumphs of gifted African American males participating in a gifted program and provide implications for policy and practice.