Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Department name when degree awarded

Elementary Education

Committee Chair(s)

Scott L. Hunsaker


Scott L. Hunsaker


Timothy A. Slocum


Martha L. Whitaker


Kathleen W. Piercy


Francine Fukui Johnson


This study explored the state of gifted education in Islamic schools in the United States, focusing on school organization and elementary school teachers' practices in planning and implementing instructional and curricular experiences for gifted students and average students. The study utilized mixed methods, combining quantitative and qualitative data. Surveys addressed teacher practices and obtained information about resources available for gifted students in Islamic schools. A focus group method was employed to understand better teachers' practices with gifted students.

The study involved 32 principals and 157 teachers. Five schools participated in the focus group discussions. Descriptive statistics were used to report the presence of identification and program services for gifted students and of classroom instructional and curricular practices. Mean differences, standard deviations, effect sizes, and p values of t tests comparing teachers' practices with gifted and average students were calculated. Data from focus groups and principal interviews were analyzed using the qualitative methods of memoranda writing and matrix analyses across and within schools and categories.

Findings suggest that Islamic schools in the United States have limited programs for gifted students. A majority of teachers in Islamic schools differentiate little between gifted and average students in instructional strategies. When differentiation occurs, it is very basic. Further, several factors contribute to the general lack of gifted education in the Islamic schools, including conceptual, resource, and organizational issues. Teachers at Islamic schools present Islamic values to all students without differentiation between gifted and average students. Although all the Islamic schools were found to value the teachings of Islamic principles to their students, most Islamic school curricula are not found to integrate these values within content areas.

This study suggests that Islamic schools should articulate a clear philosophical, theoretical, and practical concept in regard to gifted education, which should be supported by professional development. Further, Islamic schools' philosophies should articulate a clear method for curriculum integration that merges secular and religious education.