Thesis Title

Developing Academic Self-Efficacy: Strategies to Support Gifted Elementary School Students

Graduation Date

Spring 2012

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Madeliene Peters, EdD


Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s capacity to perform and accomplish goals. Specifically, academic self-efficacy refers to a student’s perception of their ability to engage and successfully complete academic tasks. Self-efficacy affects students’ behavioral choices, motivation, thought patterns and responses, perception of control, and academic productivity.

Success is the greatest factor affecting a student’s self-efficacy and gifted elementary school students are regularly successful academically in mainstream United States classrooms. However, in the face of a true intellectual challenge, rather than be inspired to learn and grow, the literature reports that gifted students’ academic self- efficacy can falter because of perfectionism, a character trait common amongst this population. According to the literature, perfectionism can paralyze gifted students with fear of failure and reduce their academic self-efficacy, causing them to underachieve.

The purpose of this research is to document the best practices for helping gifted elementary school students develop their self-efficacy. Interviews with educators of gifted students reveal strategies elementary school teachers can implement in their mainstream classrooms to help gifted students expand their learning and develop the self- efficacy necessary to become confident, inquisitive, life-long learners.

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