Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

First Advisor

Dr Lorraine Hammond

Second Advisor

Dr John O’Rourke

Field of Research Code

13, 1301

Abstract

Twice exceptional (TE) students often experience barriers to their participation in gifted academic programs that contribute to their marginalised status amongst the school gifted population. The estimated prevalence of TE students in gifted programs worldwide varies according to the location, identification means and definition, with little agreement reached between researchers in the field. This research was made up of three interrelated studies. Firstly, six years of longitudinal quantitative cohort data from the Western Australian Department of Education (DoE) database on selected students for the GAT programs including GAT Academic programs and TE students to determine TE prevalence. Secondly, disability prevalence data in government schools of Western Australia were collected and a comparison made of TE prevalence to disability was also investigated to establish trends. Additionally, survey data collected from coordinators of the GAT Academic programs (N = 5) were used to triangulate TE prevalence. Qualitative analysis of closed and open-ended survey data were undertaken to determine the GAT Academic coordinators’ knowledge of the definition and identification means used by the DoE and their knowledge and perceptions of TE students’ needs. Finally, a qualitative analysis of a closed and open-ended survey was undertaken to determine the perceptions of parents of TE students (N = 8) of the GAT Academic programs when considering application for their children. This was set in the context of the research literature and framed by the DoE’s practices, policies and adoption of Gagné’s Differentiated Model of Gifted and Talent (DMGT) to investigate the relationship between TE prevalence and disability and the barriers to their inclusion. TE prevalence in the GAT Academic programs was the core project and the second project was the knowledge and perceptions of the GAT Academic coordinators and perceptions of parents of TE students, that accesses data pertinent to understanding TE prevalence.

Results showed that TE prevalence at 1.6% was low when compared to disability prevalence across two educational settings despite the identified marked escalation of disability prevalence over this same time period. The qualitative data indicated that coordinators had limited knowledge of the GAT definition and testing adopted by the DoE, learning disabilities and associated accommodations, and perceived that the TE had more negative learning characteristics than positive. Parents of TE students perceived the major barrier to TE participation as the Academic Selective Entrance testing as well as absence of inclusion, lack of support and no alternative testing option available. This research highlighted the significant impact that inequitable and antiiv inclusion practices had on TE prevalence in the Western Australian GAT Academic programs which only now aligns with Gagné’s DMGT 2.0 model, that all contributed to the perpetuation of TE underrepresentation. This transformative mixed method research provides an overarching framework to address issues of social justice and the need for change for TE students.

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