Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Schmidt, Jennifer A. (Jennifer Anne)

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


Gifted teenagers; Knowledge; Theory of


This study examined epistemological development using Perry's developmental scheme among three cohorts of gifted high school students. This study used data from two administrations of the Learning Context Questionnaire (LCQ) gathered over five years. Subjects were administered the LCQ immediately prior to their sophomore year and during the last two weeks of their senior year. Analyses of LCQ scores indicate a statistically significant overall increase among all subjects (N = 485) as well as between genders and among five racioethnic categories. Between-groups analyses indicated no significant differences between genders in mean LCQ scores at either the sophomore or senior year. Among the five racioethnic categories, there were no between-groups differences at the sophomore year, but at the senior year, white students had significantly higher scores than black and Asian students. Principal components analyses yielded different factor structures between sophomore and senior year administrations. Sophomore year, nine distinct factors emerged, each of which was characterized not by developmental traits but rather by different dimensions of learning. By senior year, only three factors emerged, and each of the three factors clearly aligned with one of Perry's developmental levels. Logistic regression and effect sizes identified the magnitude of change and the contribution of individual items to overall scores. Chi-square analyses examined gender- and racioethnicity-based changes in both sophomore and senior year LCQ administrations. Among white students, significantly fewer students than expected scored in the category of Dualism, while significantly more scored in Dialectic. No significant differences were apparent in the observed frequencies of black or Hispanic students. Among Asian students, significantly fewer students than expected scored in the category of Dialectic. Among students categorized as “other” in racioethnicity, significantly more students than expected scored in the range of Dialectic. Limitations and areas of future inquiry are also presented. This dissertation does not provide normative data for gifted students and also lacks groups for external comparison. The exploratory nature of this dissertation provides descriptive data about gender and racioethnic subgroups among students identified as gifted. Further, this study characterizes development among groups with respect to the limited research among high school students using Perry's scheme.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 106-109).


vii, 127 pages




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