Date of Completion


Embargo Period


Major Advisor

Dr. Sally M. Reis

Associate Advisor

Dr. Eliana Rojas

Associate Advisor

Dr. Joseph Renzulli

Field of Study

Educational Psychology


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Puerto Rican Students’ Perspectives of Socio-cultural Characteristics of

Giftedness and Talent Development

Miriam Morales Taylor

University of Connecticut, 2013

This qualitative study was conducted to investigate the social and cultural characteristics of gifted and talented students and their perceptions of the educational factors that have contributed to the development of their gifts and talents. Twelve Puerto Rican English Language Learner (PR-ELL) students who are identified as gifted and attend a full-time academy for gifted and talented students were selected for the study. Both ethnography and comparative case methodology were used as the participants completed a questionnaire with 67 questions and then were interviewed and observed in their school. Students’ cumulative records were also reviewed and analyzed.

Interesting findings emerged in the study as participants identified the following characteristics that would identify them as gifted and talented: high potential, motivation, commitment, perseverance, self-confidence, maturity, and hard work. The participants believe that they work harder, expend more effort in their academic studies, take school more seriously, and have more enthusiasm for learning than students from other cultures who are identified as gifted and talented. They also reported that their parents encouraged their children to work hard and do well in school. All students agreed that the Gifted & Talented Academy they attended and their teachers provide them with a rigorous, enriched curriculum. The participants also indicated that they loved being challenged and encouraged by their parents and teachers to work hard and excel. They enjoy being exposed to new curriculum and learning new content, as opposed to the lack of challenge they experienced in their previous schools. This research contributes to new understandings regarding the characteristics of PR-ELL gifted students, family characteristics and educational factors that support and sustain high academic achievement; however, additional research is needed relative to the identification and characteristics of gifted ELL students.