Donna Y. Ford
A Study of Achievement and Underachievement among Gifted, Potentially Gifted, and Average African-American Students.
This report presents results of a cross-sectional study of achievement and underachievement in middle and high school (grades 6 to 9)African-American students in five mid-Atlantic school districts in 1995.Interviews with 152 African-American students, of whom 44 were identified as gifted, were conducted. Students were asked about their perceptions of factors that negatively or positively affect their achievement. Nine variables were investigated: racial/ethnic identity, test anxiety, attitudes toward school subjects, support for the achievement ideology, perceptions of the learning environment, and the influence of psychological, social, and cultural/familial factors. Regression analysis identified 62 students as underachievers and 87 as achievers. Half of the males and 37 percent of the females were underachieving. Comparison of three academic groups (gifted,potentially gifted, and average students) and two achievement levels(achievers and underachievers) found that 11 percent were gifted underachievers, 18 percent were gifted achievers, 18 percent were potentially gifted underachieves, 27 percent were potentially gifted achievers, 12 percent were average achievers, and 13 percent were average underachievers.The variables which discriminated best among these groups were:(1) students'attitudes toward reading, math, and science;(2) students' perceptions of parental achievement orientation; and (3)students' own achievement ideology.The interview protocol is attached. Contains 80 references.(DB).
A mind is a terrible thing to erase! (Donna Y. Ford)
Donna Y. Ford, PhD, is Professor of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. She is the former Betts Chair of Education &Human Development, and currently holds a joint appointment in the Department of Special Education and Department of Teaching and Learning. Dr. Ford has been a Professor of Special Education at the Ohio State University, an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Virginia, and an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky.
Professor Ford conducts research primarily in gifted education and multicultural/urban education. Specifically, her work focuses on: (1) the achievement gap; (2) recruiting and retaining culturally different students in gifted education; (3) multicultural curriculum and instruction; (4) culturally competent teacher training and development; (5) African-American identity; and (6) African-American family involvement. She consults with school districts, and educational and legal organizations on such topics as gifted education under-representation and Advanced Placement, multicultural/urban education and counseling, and closing the achievement gap.