Types of Acceleration
Southern, W. & Jones, E.
Excerpt from A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students
University of Iowa College of Education Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development
2004

Excerpt from A Nation Deceived, by W. Thomas Southern & Eric D. Jones, lists the 18 types of acceleration. A few examples are: Grade-skipping, curriculum compacting, extracurricular programs, and early graduation.

  1. Early Admission to Kindergarten:
    Students enter kindergarten or first grade prior to achieving the minimum age for school entry as set by district or state policy. The entry age specified varies greatly throughout the country and is generally stated in terms of birth date. For example, entry to kindergarten will be allowed for prospective students who will achieve the age of five years on or before September 30 of their entry year.

  2. Early Admission to First Grade:
    This practice can result from either the skipping of kindergarten, or from accelerating a student from kindergarten in what would be the student's first year of school.

  3. Grade-Skipping:
    A student is considered to have grade skipped if he or she is given a grade-level placement ahead of chronological-age peers. Grade-skipping may be done at the beginning or during the school year.

  4. Continuous Progress:
    The student is given content progressively as prior content is completed and mastered. The practice is accelerative when the student's progress exceeds the performance of chronological peers in rate and level. Provision for providing sequenced materials may or may not be with the discretion of the teacher or within the control of the student.

  5. Self-Paced Instruction:
    With this option the student proceeds through learning and instructional activities at a self-selected pace. Self-paced instruction is a sub-type of continuous progress acceleration. Self-paced instruction is distinguishable from the more general continuous progress in that the student has control over all pacing decisions.

  6. Subject-Matter Acceleration/Partial Acceleration:
    This practice allows students to be placed with classes with older peers for a part of the day (or with materials from higher grade placements) in one or more content areas. Subject-matter acceleration or partial acceleration may be accomplished by the student either physically moving to a higher-level class for instruction (e.g., a second-grade student going to a fifth-grade reading group), or using higher-level curricular or study materials. Subject-matter acceleration may also be accomplished outside of the general instructional schedule (e.g., summer school or after school) or by using higher-level instructional activities on a continuous progress basis without leaving the placement with chronological-age peers.

  7. Combined Classes:
    While not, in and of itself, a practice designed for acceleration, in some instances (e.g., a fourth and fifth-grade split room), this placement can allow younger students to interact academically and socially with older peers. It may or may not result in a an advanced grade placement later.

  8. Curriculum Compacting:
    The student's instruction entails reduced amounts of introductory activities, drill, and practice. Instructional experiences may also be based on relatively fewer instructional objectives compared to the general curriculum. The time gained may be used for more advanced content instruction or to participate in enrichment activities. Instructional goals should be selected on the basis of careful analyses for their roles in the content and hierarchies of curricula The parsing of activities and goals should be based on pre-instructional assessment.

  9. Telescoping Curriculum:
    Student is provided instruction that entails less time than is normal (e.g., completing a one-year course in one semester, or three years of middle school in two). Telescoping differs from curriculum compacting in that time saved from telescoping always results in advanced grade placement. It is planned to fit a precise time schedule. Curriculum compacting, on the other hand, does not necessarily advance grade placement.

  10. Mentoring:
    A student is paired with a mentor or expert tutor who provides advanced or more rapid pacing of instruction.

  11. Extracurricular Programs:
    Students elect to enroll in coursework or after school or summer programs that confer advanced instruction and/or credit.

  12. Correspondence Courses:
    The student enrolls in coursework delivered outside of normal school instruction. Instruction may be delivered traditionally by mail, but increasingly other delivery mechanisms such as Internet-based instruction and televised courses are used.

  13. Early Graduation:
    The student graduates from high school or college in three-and-a-half years or less. Generally, this is accomplished by increasing the amount of coursework undertaken each year in high school or college, but it may also be accomplished through dual/concurrent enrollment or extracurricular and correspondence coursework.

  14. Concurrent/Dual Enrollment:
    The student takes a course at one level and receives credit for a parallel course at a higher level (e.g., taking algebra at the middle school level and receiving credit at both the middle school and the high school level or taking a high school chemistry course and receiving credit for a university course upon successful completion).

  15. Advanced Placement (AP):
    The student takes a course (traditionally in high school) that will confer college credit upon successful completion of a stardardized examination.

  16. Credit by Examination:
    The student is awarded advanced standing credit (e.g., in high school or college) by successfully completing some form of mastery test or activity.

  17. Acceleration in College:
    The student is awarded an advanced level of instruction at least one year ahead of normal. This may be achieved with the employment of other accelerative techniques such as dual enrollment and credit by examination or by determination of college teachers and administrators.

  18. Early Entrance into Middle School, High School, or College:
    The student completes two or more majors in a total of five years and/or earns an advanced degree along with or in lieu of a bachelors degree.

The full two-volume report can be downloaded at NationDeceived.org.


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