Acceleration

Updated on Wed, 05/26/2021 - 9:53am

Acceleration offers standard curricular experiences to students at a younger-than-usual age or lower-than-usual grade level. Acceleration includes grade skipping or subject acceleration, in which a student receives advanced instruction in one or more content areas. The Adams 12 Acceleration process is for students already enrolled.

To better meet the needs of students with acceleration and transition, deadlines and timelines are set throughout the year. Please check with your school for specific dates. The last window typically closes in early May to adequately schedule for the next school year in the fall. 

There are 2 forms of Acceleration:

Subject Acceleration: Where a student goes up a grade level for one subject, most often for math. It is important to consider long-term impacts, including what programming, scheduling and transportation issues might arise when children approach middle and/or high school. Families should consult with their child’s math teacher, GT coordinator and/or principal for further information. Adams 12 does have policy/procedure in place for subject acceleration.

Full-grade Acceleration (grade skipping): Where a student skips up to the next grade level. This is a radical intervention that should take into account a variety of factors – academic, social and emotional, current differentiated strategies being implemented, etc. Interested families should contact their school's principal. This will initiate a discussion and review of all academic, cognitive, performance, and anecdotal data by the school team, District Math Department, and AAGS. The review of the available body of evidence (BOE) will determine if the student is/is not a candidate for acceleration. The principal may ask the family to complete the formal Acceleration Application, in which further testing and collection of a BOE is necessary. 

Research on Acceleration: Much of the literature on acceleration indicates that, for those highly gifted students who are not being sufficiently challenged by their age-level curriculum, the academic benefits of full-grade acceleration tend to outweigh any social disadvantages. This is a generalization, and all relevant factors should be considered in this decision. Research also supports the need for students to demonstrate mastery of both skills and conceptual understanding, especially in mathematics. It can be detrimental to accelerate a student with only advanced skills and not conceptual understanding or the ability to apply these concepts to new and novel situations. 

Research focused on grade level acceleration articulates that students best served and successful with full-grade acceleration perform consistently at the advanced level in all academic areas and demonstrate a depth of knowledge and understanding that supports skipping an entire year of standards. This often translates to enrollment in all offered Honors Courses, a trend of 4 on a report card in core content areas, and scores trending at the 95th percentile or Exceeded level on nationally normed assessments. Additionally, students are typically identified as gifted and have academic strength areas. 

See the Acceleration Institute for a summary of research on the topic, and the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) for a research-supported position statement.