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The Phenomenon Of Underachievement: Listening To The Voice Of A Twice Exceptional Adolescent
Doctoral Dissertations 1896 - February 2014
  • Robin E Hands, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Date of Award
Access Type
Campus Access
Document type
Degree Name
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Degree Program
Education; Teacher Education & School Improvement
First Advisor
Linda L. Griffin
Second Advisor
Cynthia Rosenberger
Third Advisor
Daniel S. Gerber
Subject Categories

The purpose of this study was to recognize and validate dual exceptionalities and to give voice to an underachieving gifted adolescent with an Attention Deficit Disorder regarding what has worked and not worked for him in traditional school settings. The importance of this study resonates in the voice of a tenth grade, Caucasian male student; a student for whom learning and intellectual challenge is a driving force, but who has been unable to "achieve" in a traditional school setting. This study is vital in that twice exceptional learners are at great risk of underachieving in traditional school settings. In the context of this study, underachievement was viewed as a phenomenon (Schultz, 2002), not a label. It is a verb, not to be confused with the noun. The term should not be used to describe who someone is (underachiever), but rather what someone does(underachieves).

Data gathered in this study were analyzed using a constant comparative method of data analysis, which was applied to interviews and classroom observations in an effort to identify categories and themes (Strauss & Corbin, 1994). Data collected from the student interview, classroom observations, document analysis, and adult interviews were triangulated in an effort to uncover patterns and practices that have contributed to or helped to ameliorate the phenomenon of underachievement in a gifted student identified with ADD.

Results of this study indicate that schools underachieve their twice exceptional learners (Schultz, 2002) by failing to recognize the asynchronous tension with which these students live; by not creating life-giving relationships with twice exceptional learners that are based on trust and respect; by not implementing classroom practices that are predicated on constructivist learning theory; by denying them access to intellectual peers; and by failing to instill hope.

Citation Information
Robin E Hands. "The Phenomenon Of Underachievement: Listening To The Voice Of A Twice Exceptional Adolescent" (2009)
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