Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

David Lubinski


Recent efforts examining the educational and vocational development needs of intellectually gifted students have focused on the possibility of early intervention. There is considerable anecdotal evidence that the gifted begin to think earlier about careers than their peers and that their general vocational preferences may crystallize at an earlier age. Empirical research has produced some support for these assertions, as well as the notion that tests and questionnaires devised for use with older students might be applied in early adolescence with intellectually gifted individuals. Instruments measuring abilities and preferences, factors critical to the development of educational and vocational choice, competence, and fulfillment, enjoy long and successful histories of predicting vocational outcomes in adult populations. Although much has been uncovered in the last 25 years regarding the utility of above-level ability testing among the intellectually gifted, relatively little is known about how above-level preference assessment might also be applied to intellectually gifted persons in their early adolescent years. Chapter 1 of this dissertation reviewed components of both vocational psychology and gifted student literature pertaining to these developments. Then, using the Theory of Work Adjustment (Dawis & Lofquist, 1984; Lofquist & Dawis, 1991) and C. P. Snow's (1959) conceptualization of "two cultures" as theoretical frameworks, the study presented in Chapter 2 analyzed the incremental validity of above-level preference assessment (relative to abilities) in predicting humanities, math-science, and other college majors completed by the intellectually gifted. Discriminant analysis results indicated that the age-13 SAT (used to measure abilities) and Study of Values (used to measure preferences) assessments of 432 intellectually gifted adolescents each provided unique and valuable information to the prediction of type of college major completed 10 years after initial assessment. These positive findings add to growing support for the notion of early crystallization of preferences among the gifted and lend further credence to conjointly applying above-level ability and preference assessment in facilitating educational and early career planning among intellectually gifted adolescents.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

John Andrew Achter



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

95 pages