Subject Level Acceleration Information
What is subject acceleration?
An individual subject acceleration is the practice of assigning a student, who meets the specified criteria, to content instructed at a higher grade level with the purpose of meeting the high achieving or gifted student’s unique needs.
Example: A 5th grade student attends a 6th grade math class each day based upon the needs of the student who has consistently performed at such high achievement levels that his/her needs cannot be met at the student’s current grade level . The student meets the recommended criteria for placement into the seventh grade math class based upon a variety of data points, holistic criteria, and team feedback.
How do I know if my child is a good candidate for acceleration?
A student is considered a good candidate if he/she has done each of the following:
• Clearly demonstrated consistent high ability in one or two subject areas
• Clearly demonstrated accelerated performance in one or two subject areas when compared to his or her age-mates
• Has Full Scale IQ or cognitive score at least one standard deviation above the mean (115 – guideline provided by Iowa Acceleration Scale, instrument required for use by Ohio Department of Education for whole grade acceleration)
• Consistently scores in Advanced category on state assessments (if available) for the are being considered for acceleration
• Likes challenges
• Has good school attendance
• Demonstrates a positive attitude, neither over-estimating or under-estimating his/her ability
• Completes assignments with care
• Is motivated to do well
• Adapts easily socially and emotionally to new and/or challenging environments
• Received challenging and enriching instruction but still cannot have his/her needs met at the current grade level
My child says that he/she is bored. Does this mean that he/she should be accelerated?
This statement in isolation is not a reason to refer a student for the acceleration process. It is important to understand that being “bored” can have a number of meanings. It does not always have to mean that the curriculum is not challenging enough. In some instances, it can actually mean that something may be a little too challenging for the student, so the student is using avoidance to engage in the task. Through dialogue with your child and his/her teacher, it is important to get some insight on what exactly being “bored” means. Is it too easy? Too hard? Not an area of interest? Something else?
After talking with my child’s teacher, we believe that after receiving challenging and enriching differentiated instruction, his/her needs are not best met in current placement. What should we do?
Sometimes despite numerous enrichment and extension opportunities being provided, it is possible that your child needs the additional challenge of a subject or whole grade acceleration. This intervention is for a small percentage of the population, and a student need not be identified as gifted in order to be referred for acceleration.
A number of factors, including quantitative and qualitative, are used by an acceleration team to make an informed decision on best placement for a student. This becomes a permanent placement after the nine week transition period. A student who just qualifies is probably not the ideal candidate for acceleration. One must examine the potential for long-term achievement. Accelerated students should be expected to achieve, relative to their new grade peers, at a high level that is generally comparable to their performance in their previous grade. These students are typically in the top 10% in a class and one would expect them to remain in the top 10% throughout their academic career. Thus, test scores should be strong in order for acceleration to be successful. With a subject acceleration a student then is assessed at that grade level for any state testing.
For more information on acceleration, visit the Acceleration Institute website. For families considering whether or not acceleration is the right intervention for their child, contact the child’s teacher to get an idea of the student’s progress within the classroom and what extension and enrichment opportunities have been implemented in the classroom to stretch and engage the learner. You may also contact the gifted services department with any questions about acceleration.
More information about acceleration and the state model acceleration policy may also be found by visiting the webpage at the Ohio Department of Education.