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Academic Acceleration

So I leave you with the thought that educational acceleration is not the ogre educators and others have alleged. Instead, we at SMPY have found it to be the method of choice for those youths who reason extremely well mathematically and are eager to move ahead educationally. For other gifted children it should be a far-more-considered set of alternatives than at present. I invite you to examine the evidence closely and then to act accordingly. Julian Stanley, A Look Back at Educational Non-Acceleration: An International Tragedy

“Meta-analytic reviews have consistently concluded that educational acceleration helps students academically without shortchanging them socially and emotionally.” James A. Kulik, The University of Michigan

There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction. -- John F. Kennedy

See also ... Early Entrance College Programs and College Scholarships...

Academic Acceleration of Gifted Children Recommended edited by Southern and Jones
A comprehensive textbook on acceleration, with chapters on early acceptance to kindergarten or to college, affective development of acceleration of gifted students, identification of good candidates.  Also available from Amazon.co.uk
 
Acceleration Recommended National Association for Gifted Children Position Paper
Educational acceleration is one of the cornerstones of exemplary gifted education practices, with more research supporting this intervention than any other in the literature on gifted individuals...
 
Acceleration Recommended by David Elkind
The author of The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon speaks out in favor of academic acceleration for intellectually gifted children!
 
Acceleration for Gifted Learners, K-5 Recommended by Joan Franklin Smutny, Sally Y. Walker, Elizabeth A. Meckstroth 
Practical guide corrects misunderstandings of acceleration and provides the tools necessary to effectively determine the most appropriate learning options for gifted students. Through real-life stories, authors dispel common myths about acceleration and describe what it is, what forms it takes, and what it can do for gifted learners—intellectually, socially, and emotionally.  Includes instructional strategies for implementation in various school settings...
 
The Calculus Trap Recommended by Richard Rusczyk
The gifted, interested student should be exposed to mathematics outside the core curriculum, because the standard curriculum is not designed for the top students.  Rather than learning more and more tools, avid students are better off learning how to take tools they have and apply them to complex problems. Then later, when they learn the more advanced tools of curricular education, applying them to even more complicated problems will come more easily...
 
The effects of acceleration on the social and emotional development of gifted students Recommended by Lynn Pollins
The potential effects of acceleration on the social and emotional development of gifted students were examined from two perspectives.  No study, regardless of its orientation on these dimensions, has demonstrated any permanent or significant negative effects of acceleration on social and emotional development. There is no validity to the argument that acceleration is harmful to the social and emotional development of gifted youths...
 
From "the saddest sound" to the D Major chord: The gift of accelerated progression Recommended by Miraca Gross
Although the academic acceleration of gifted and talented students is probably the most comprehensively studied and evaluated of all educational interventions, many teachers are reluctant to accelerate gifted students for fear they will suffer social or emotional damage. Yet research suggests that "the bird that's tethered to the ground" is at much greater risk of social isolation and emotional maladjustment through inappropriate grade placement with age-peers
 
Iowa Acceleration Scale Manual; A Guide for Whole-Grade Acceleration (Amazon or Barnes & Noble) Recommended by Susan G. Assouline, Nicholas Colangelo, Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik, Jonathan Lipscomb, Leslie Forstadt
For schools or parents, the Iowa Acceleration Scale provides a systematic and thorough approach to considering and implementing academic acceleration for gifted and talented students in grades K-8; read Hoagies' detailed review.  Also available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.ca
 
Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration (IRPA) Recommended
A new Templeton Foundation grant creates this clearinghouse for new and continuing research on gifted acceleration...
 
A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students Recommended The Templeton National Report on Acceleration
Acceleration is a powerful educational ally, but it’s a strategy that requires participation of parents as well as sensitivity to individual needs and circumstances. For that reason, this report is designed not only to persuade readers of the value of acceleration, but also to help schools administer acceleration programs effectively...
Now available in 8 languages! Click for Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. (requires Adobe Reader)  Also read the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC ) reply Acceleration in Schools: A Call to Action
 
Radical acceleration and early entry to college: A review of the research Recommended by Miraca U.M. Gross, in Gifted Child Quarterly
Research provides strong support for the use of thoughtfully planned and monitored radical acceleration as a process allowing educators to respond to the academic and affective needs of a significant subgroup of the gifted population. These students earn higher GPAs, and they are more likely to complete college on time or early, earn general and departmental honors, make the dean's list, enter graduate school, engage in research, and embark on prestigious careers. Research also documents positive outcomes for social and emotional development...
 
Radical Acceleration of Highly Gifted Children Recommended by Miraca U.M. Gross and Helen E. vanVliet
An annotated bibliography of international research on highly gifted children who graduate from high school three or more years early (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Stories of Acceleration Recommended Belin-Blank Center
Read many stories, both positive and negative, of acceleration of gifted students, and follow the links to even more stories, case studies, and Personal Stories about the effects of A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students...
 
The Socioaffective Impact of Acceleration and Ability Grouping: Recommendations for Best Practice Recommended by Maureen Neihart, National Institute of Education, Singapore
Although the academic gains associated with acceleration and peer ability grouping are well documented, resistance to their use for gifted students continues because of concerns that such practices will cause social or emotional harm to students. Research indicates that grade skipping, early school entrance, and early admission to college have socioaffective benefits for gifted students who are selected on the basis of demonstrated academic, social, and emotional maturity, but may be harmful to unselected students who are arbitrarily accelerated on the basis of IQ, achievement, or social maturity...
 
Susan and Goliath: A Seventh-Grade Girl's Skipping Odyssey Recommended by Mary Reed, NAGC Parenting for High Potential
This was an odyssey in the true sense of the word with many twists and turns. We all felt dizzy by the time it was over. The key for us, as a family, was to make sure that this was what Susan wanted and that she was both emotionally and mentally ready. Now that Susan’s second year of high school is nearly finished, we feel vindicated. Susan did slay Goliath—not with a stone, but with her intelligence and maturity.
 
Yesterday's Whiz Kids: Where Are They Today? Recommended by Melissa Hendricks
Preliminary results of a 20-year follow-up indicate that most have been successful. Many achieved advanced degrees.  Many rose to outstanding careers at an early age
 
13 Days of Radical Acceleration by Michael
On the first day of high school, my classmates said to me, "How can you be in high school when you're so young?"
 
Academic Acceleration reprinted from MonTAGe, by Valorie J. King
Several great essays for gifted parents dealing with acceleration, including "Research Report: Academic Acceleration (Ten-Year Longitudinal Study)," "Problem Solving 101: Dealing With Opposition To Acceleration," "Problem Solving 102: Making Your Argument For Acceleration," and "Problem Solving 103: Making Handwriting A Non-Issue"
 
Academic Acceleration: Knowing Your Options
A concise summary of research on academic acceleration, including answers to the common questions of social emotional adjustment, self-esteem, and more. Now out of print, use interlibrary loan to locate a copy (was a Best of  Hoagies' Gifted Education Page Recommended selection, but difficult to find)
 
Acceleration by William K. Durr
Lest you assume academic acceleration is a new option for gifted children, this page is an excerpt from the chapter "Acceleration" (p.96-103) in The Gifted Student written by William K. Durr, published in 1964 by Oxford University Press, New York. 
 
Acceleration: Evaluating the Controversy over Higher-Speed Education by Lesley Mackay
Acceleration is intended to facilitate learning for highly able students who might otherwise be limited to a diet of repetitive educational experiences.  Yet acceleration sparks resistance from some educators, parents, and other critics who argue that acceleration rushes students through school, putting students’ social, emotional, and even intellectual development at risk.
 
Acceleration for Gifted Children: An Interview with W. Thomas Southern conducted by Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
"There are many accelerative types of programs. In some, schools are basically trying to recognize what a child has already learned... There are other kinds of programs, extracurricular programs, where the students go in the summer...  Another type of acceleration is when a student in high school also enrolls and takes college classes..."
 
Acceleration for Gifted Students by Margaret DeLacy
A background paper to help a school district advisory committee make recommendations...
 
Acceleration: Is moving ahead the right step? APA Monitor on-line journal
But some psychologists' research shows that acceleration--skipping grades or working ahead in a particular subject--can be one of the best methods to meet the needs of gifted youth. While not a panacea, acceleration gives students access to true peers and challenging work...

Acceleration lets students excel by Cindy Kranz, The Cincinnati Inquirer
Once frowned on, skipping grades now accepted in gifted education.  School districts in Ohio are required by law to adopt an acceleration policy for this school year for advanced learners, allowing them to move through traditional curriculum faster than usual.  The state offered a model policy that districts could adopt or allowed districts to adopt a similar version. The policy covers early entrance into kindergarten, single-subject acceleration, whole-grade acceleration and early graduation...
 
Acceleration: Strategies and Benefits by Michael C. Pyryt
Highlights some of the major benefits of acceleration, and describes the smorgasbord of accelerative opportunities model pioneered by Julian Stanley and colleagues at The Johns Hopkins University. This model has generated a significant amount of research documenting its effectiveness. Introduces the Iowa Acceleration Scale as a tool for facilitate discussion and decision-making regarding acceleration...  (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Acceleration: Valuable High School to College Option by Nancy Robinson and Kathleen Noble
Provides some practical part-time acceleration options, as well as full-time acceleration options. Not accelerating a gifted child causes them to abandon the intellectual pursuit and become at-risk for difficulties...
 
Advocating for a Grade Skip: A Portfolio of Research by Sandy Mixson
A parent's recipe for successful advocacy!
 
All Rivers Lead to the Sea: A Follow-up Study of Gifted Young Adults by Kathleen Noble, Nancy Robinson and Susan Gunderson
...accelerating one's secondary education is as healthy a decision for many highly capable students as remaining with agemates.  The social and emotional development of most highly qualified students has been neither compromised nor harmed by acceleration.  Early entrance to college may prove to be one of the most navigable rivers a student can run... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Basic Educational Options for Gifted Students in Schools by Joyce VanTassel-Baska
Most school mission statements proclaim the intention of educating every child to the level of his or her potential, yet many times those words have no translation value for the gifted as they sit bored in classrooms where their instructional level exceeds by years...  There is a real need to consider nonnegotiable options for this population...
 
Boy genius set to become youngest-ever grad of Independent Study High School program by Joe Duggan, Lincoln Star Journal
Like any 10-year-old kid on the cusp of summer, Brandenn Bremmer can't wait to seize the days.  There are golf balls to hit. There are fish to catch. There's tents to pitch and campfires to build. And there's robots to program and Venus fly traps to propagate and Beethoven piano concertos to polish.  But first, there's a high school diploma to pick up.
Also Farm family adapts to raise boy who may graduate high school in two years and Boy genius ready for bigger things

A sad ending:  Parents struggle with loss of 'child prodigy'  also by Joe Duggan
 

Bright Kid Blues Sarah Schmidt, Canada.com
By the time they enter kindergarten some kids can read and do math. So why won't their schools let them skip a grade?  "This child should be skipped."  Instead, the school and family has developed an individual education plan for Jacob, set up for every student identified as having exceptional needs, whether gifted or remedial; in this case, an enriched program will be offered to Jacob if his behaviour worsens during his senior kindergarten year. Goldman feels defeated...
 
CU's new BMOC: boy marvel on campus by Berny Morson, Rocky Mountain News
Thirteen-year-old Ryan Kramer isn't into model airplanes. He wants to design real ones. In the fall, Kramer will become one of the youngest students ever to enroll at the University of Colorado, where he will major in aerospace engineering...
 
Dangerous Minds by Jay Mathews (Washington Post)
Niels, studying engineering at Rice, remembers his school days not as a 100-yard dash but a series of interesting choices that kept ennui at bay. Niels sums up for his generation: "Being bored sucks."
 
Educational Research and Educational Policy: The Strange Case of Acceleration by James J. Gallagher
One of the clear differences between educational policy and educational research data involves the date of entrance into school. There is no reason, based on what we know about individual differences and individual growth rates, why a single date, such as a birthday, should be chosen to determine when a person will enter the educational system
 
Finishing College When Most Begin by Jacques Steinberg
In the fall, he will begin studying at Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, among the youngest recipients of the scholarship in at least two decades. "He's just as typical as any 18-year-old," the father said. "He's very mature, but he messes up, just as we all do, from time to time."
 
Grade Skipped and Successful collected by Carolyn K.
A list of individuals who skipped one or more grades, and are successful in their fields... from scientist to actress to Nobel Prize winner
 
Guidelines for Grade Advancement of Precocious Children by John F. Feldhusen, Theron Proctor & Kathryn N. Black
Practical guidelines for making grade advancement decisions... Grade advancement is a legitimate and valuable method of meeting the needs of some intellectually or academically gifted students. Grade advancement is a way of bringing some gifted and talented children up to a level of instruction closer to their levels of achievement and pace
 
How a Virtual AP Course Changed Her Son by Jay Matthews, Washington Post
Unlike the middle-school classes in which he apparently coasted, Matthew saw AP biology as authentic. For him, it was exciting to jump ahead of his peers.  "His attitude toward school and study is very different now," she said. "Matthew now talks confidently...
 
How Squid Got Skipped: The Book of Squid by Marjorie
The preparation, the meeting, the decision, and the "Book of Squid"... one parent's successful advocacy story
 
I Was an Accelerated Child by Alexandra Swann
"My parents did not initially plan to accelerate our educations," "I still think often about my parents' school at home, and I am very grateful for the opportunities that my education has given me." "It worked well for us."
For more detail, see her book No Regrets: How Home Schooling Earned Me A Masters Degree At Age 16
 
Keeping Their Talents Alive: Young Women's Assessment of Radical, Post-Secondary Acceleration by Kathleen Noble and Raina Smith
One way [to reverse the trend of women being underrepresented in technical and scientific careers] is to create an accelerated educational environment where females do not have to downplay their intellectuality to be accepted by peers... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
A Look Back at Educational Non-Acceleration: An International Tragedy by Julian Stanley
Many intellectually brilliant youths eager to proceed faster educationally have been prevented from doing so by their parents, educators, or psychologists. This brings to mind the horrible Greek legend about Procrustes, who forced his guests to lie on a very long or a very short bed and fitted them to it by stretching them if the bed was too long or by cutting off part of their legs if the bed was too short. The age-in-grade lockstep is a Procrustean solution endorsed by all but a few...
 
Markedly Early Entrance to College: A Multi-Year Comparative Study of Academic Performance and Psychological Adjustment by Paul M. Janos, Nancy M. Robinson, and Clifford E. Lunneborg
...for a constituency of exceptionally talented - but quite young - students, college enrollment, particularly when undertaken in concert with other able and motivated peers, can be both academically enhancing and facilitative of personal and social growth. (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Meeting the Needs of Able Learners through Flexible Pacing (ERIC Digest #464) by Neil Daniel and June Cox
What is flexible pacing, and how can it be implemented?
 
Never Say Bored! by Carolyn K.
Educational hot buttons to avoid when you're talking about academic acceleration...
 
Part Time High School by Jill
We have to accept that we can't plan more than a year ahead...
 
Radical Possibilities for the Profoundly Gifted by Gay
My son, age 10, whom we've home schooled since he was 6, started taking a 2nd year Spanish class at a local community college last fall at age 9. He will be enrolled at a local university this coming fall.
 
Reading at 8 Months? That Was Just the Start by Michael Winerip
Alia, who is 13, and will earn her undergraduate degree from the State University at Stony Brook this spring, has been stunning people for a long time, beginning with her parents, who thought it odd when she started reading words at 8 months old...
 
Research Synthesis by Karen B. Rogers
Rogers updates (1999) her 1991 research synthesis regarding gifted education provisions...
bulletGifted students are significantly more likely to retain science and mathematics content accurately when taught 2-3 times faster than "normal" class pace.
bulletGifted students are significantly more likely to forget or mislearn science and mathematics content when they must drill and review it more than 2-3 times
bulletGifted students perform significantly more highly when the majority of their time is spent in true peer interactions (academic core areas only)
 
SAT talent searches lead nowhere for many by Laura Vanderkam
As schools across the country prepare their students for annual grade-level testing under the No Child Left Behind Act, thousands of bright seventh- and eighth-graders are getting ready to take on a greater challenge this Saturday: the SAT college entrance exam. These scores will help schools determine which students need more advanced work than they may be getting in class. At least, that's the idea...
 
Short Answers for why our children are grade accelerated by Carolyn K. and the parents of GT-World and TAGFAM
Snappy comebacks for our grade accelerated children by Carolyn K. and the parents of GT-World and TAGFAM
Quick answers for some of the sticky situations our kids and we run into after grade acceleration...
 
Should Gifted Students Be Grade-Advanced? (ERIC Digest #526) by Sharon J. Lynch
Sometimes educational acceleration is a realistic and desirable alternative to normal grade-level work
 
Should Your Child Skip a Grade? by Marissa K. Lingen
Getting out was the best thing I ever did in the public school system. I skipped my junior year of high school, and I have never once regretted it-- something that seems to disappoint all the people from my home town who predicted it would be "a big mistake."
 
They Went to College Early by The Fund for the Advancement of Education (1957)
Reviews the Program for Early Admission to College of the Fund for the Advancement of Education.  Includes details on the colleges, the students, academic performance, social and emotional adjustment, and more...
 
Thinking About Early Entrance to College by Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
More and more colleges are instituting special early entrance programs to attract and nurture exceptionally able younger students...
 
Tiny collegiate high school earns big honor by Rita Farlow, St. Petersburg Times
St. Petersburg Collegiate High School received the greatest number of points on the [Florida] school accountability report.  The school enrolls grades 10-12 in a three-year program that allows students to earn a high school diploma and a college associate degree simultaneously.  "It's good to note that early college experiences are an excellent source of college access for minority students. They receive the support for the transition to prepare them for collegiate classes"...
 
Top 1 in 10,000: A 10-Year Follow-Up of the Profoundly Gifted by David Lubinski, Rose Mary Webb, Martha J. Morelock, and Camilla P. Benbow
Adolescents identified before the age of 13... as having exceptional mathematical or verbal reasoning abilities (top 1 in 10,000) were tracked over 10 years.  They pursued doctoral degrees at rates 50 times base-rate expectations, with several participants having created noteworthy literary, scientific, or technical products by their early 20s.  Early observed distinctions in intellectual strength (viz., quantitative reasoning ability over verbal reasoning ability, and vice versa) predicted sharp differences in their developmental trajectories and occupational pursuits.  This special population strongly preferred educational opportunities tailored to their precocious rate of learning (i.e. appropriate developmental placement) with 95% using some form of acceleration to individualize their education...  (requires Adobe Reader)
 
What Price Genius? by Morley Safer, 60 Minutes
When Morley Safer first interviewed Adragon De Mello for 60 Minutes in 1987, the 10-year-old's father thought he was a genius. The boy, known as A.D., was in college because his father said there were no schools, public or private, that could challenge his son's intelligence.  But A.D.'s road to a higher education was a rocky one, and so was his life at home, where the pressure to succeed often became overwhelming...
 
Why College So Young?
A parent's testimonial on California State University LA's Early Entrance Program
 

Last updated April 25, 2012 

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