Date of Award

Summer 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Audra Classen

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Richard Mohn

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Lilian Hill

Committee Member 4 School



This study examined preservice teachers’ attitudes, self-efficacy, and use of differentiation for gifted learners during the various stages of a teacher education program. The theoretical framework of this study was based on the premise that implicit personality theories held by preservice teachers influence both attitudes towards gifted learners and instructional practices in the general education, elementary classroom. The research design utilized quantitative methods to gather data from undergraduate general education preservice teachers from two regional universities within Mississippi. A total of 204 preservice teachers completed the Survey of Practices with Students of Varying Needs. Data gathered during this study was analyzes using descriptive statistics and several univariate ANOVAs. Results indicated statistically significant differences between the stages of the education program for preservice teachers’ attitudes toward gifted learners as well their attitude toward differentiation. In addition, statistically significant differences were found between the stages of the education program in their use of differentiated instructional strategies for gifted learners. Results indicate preservice teachers’ positive attitudes, self-efficacy, and use of differentiation increase as teachers progress from the first semester through the last semester of a teacher education program.