Acceleration Policy

Resources from The Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration:

A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students (2 volume report) is available to be downloaded at no cost here.  From Volume II:

Acceleration does not mean pushing a child. It does not mean forcing a child to learn advanced material or socialize with older children before he or she is ready. Indeed, it is the exact opposite. Acceleration is about appropriate educational planning. It is about matching the level and complexity of the curriculum with the readiness and motivation of the child. Acceleration is about letting students soar. Acceleration is about respecting individual differences and the fact that some of these differences merit educational flexibility.

Schools pay lip-service to the proposition that students should learn at their own pace; in reality, for countless highly able children the pace of their progress through school is determined by the rate of progress of their classmates. In the majority of our classrooms, an invisible ceiling restricts the progress of academically gifted students. At the time of the publication of this report, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, which aims to bring all children up to proficiency, is the national focus on education. This is an admirable goal and worthy of our efforts. However, NCLB ignores those students who are well above proficiency, and these students are also worthy of our best efforts. It is this group that is currently invisible on the national agenda and this report is intended to restore visibility to these students and their legitimate education needs.

This report is presented in two volumes. Volume I contains the essence of the research reviews presented in Volume II. Volume II provides an extensive review of the wealth of research on the academic acceleration of gifted students so that discussion and decision-making about acceleration can be based on evidence rather than on myths, misconceptions, or personal bias. It is often difficult to make strong generalizations about research in education since, so often, scholars present contradictory findings. In fact, many educational interventions have been implemented with a flimsy research basis or no research basis at all. Acceleration stands as a striking exception to the rule.

Guidelines for Developing an Academic Acceleration Policy is also available to be downloaded at no cost here.

The Iowa Acceleration Scale (3rd ed.) is available for purchase here.

I would note that in all the talk of promoting STEM education, it is curious that acceleration policy has been left out of the conversation.   Acceleration is an inexpensive intervention that could help children, who might otherwise become bored or frustrated, maintain an interest in math and science.