Templeton National Report on Acceleration: A Nation Deceived
Davidson Institute for Talent Development
Educators Guild Newsletter
Vol. 1, Issue 3

The Templeton National Report on Acceleration is a research report that highlights the most effective way to help gifted students thrive. "Decades of data come together in this report to make one resounding statement: acceleration is the most effective intervention method for high-ability students, not just academically, but emotionally and socially, and for both the short- and long-term."

America's schools are unaware of the research on the most effective way to help gifted students thrive, says a new report released this September. While the popular perception among administrators and legislators is that skipping a grade impedes a child's emotional and social growth, there are 50 years of research to the contrary. In fact, research suggests that moving these students ahead has academically and socially positive results. This research is now available in the Templeton National Report on Acceleration, A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America's Brightest Students, http://www.accelerationinstitute.org/nation_deceived/.

Decades of data come together in this report to make one resounding statement: acceleration is the most effective intervention method for high-ability students, not just academically, but emotionally and socially, and for both the short- and long-term.

Researchers took into consideration many of the reasons why acceleration is not a commonly accepted alternative for intellectually gifted students, including the myth that children must be kept with their age peers, that acceleration "hurries" students out of childhood, or even that acceleration somehow conflicts with the idea of political equality. Ultimately, none of these concerns were supported by the research

What the research on acceleration has found will be of importance to parents and educators, as well as the public at large:

  • No other arrangement for gifted children works as well as acceleration.
  • Acceleration is far more effective in raising student achievement than the most successful school reform models.
  • A review of 380 studies revealed that almost all forms of acceleration result in growth and achievement.
  • Acceleration falls into two broad categories: grade-based acceleration, which shortens the number of years a student spends in the K-12 system, and subject-based acceleration, which allows for advanced content earlier than customary.
  • The Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS) is a proven and effective instrument for helping schools make decisions about grade acceleration.
  • Intellectually precocious students who experience educational acceleration in middle and high school view their pre-college education experiences much more positively than their non-accelerated intellectual peers.
  • Accelerated students are more likely than non-accelerants to aspire to advanced educational degrees.
  • For many gifted students, acceleration provides a better personal maturity match with their peers than do non-accelerated programs.
  • There are no deleterious social-emotional effects of acceleration.
  • There is no indication of social or emotional maladjustment arising from well-planned programs of radical acceleration.
  • Research on early entrance to college has shown extensive evidence of short-term academic success, long-term occupational success, and few social and emotional difficulties.
  • For developing world-class scientific leaders, accelerative experiences appear to be critical.

The report was funded by the Sir John Templeton Foundation of Pennsylvania, a philanthropic organization that sponsors many initiatives to communicate the nature, development and benefits of scientific genius and creativity. In May 2003, a Summit on Acceleration was held at the University of Iowa. Distinguished scholars and educators from around the country were invited to help formulate a national report on acceleration of gifted students.

The three primary authors of A Nation Deceived are Dr. Nicholas Colangelo, Director, and Dr. Susan G. Assouline, Associate Director, of the Belin-Blank Center, along with Dr. Miraca U.M. Gross, GERRIC, from the University of New South Wales. In addition, nationally recognized experts on gifted education have contributed eleven chapters on the major issues related to acceleration, such as grade-skipping, high-school challenges or Advanced Placement classes. A complete bibliography provides readers access to all research referenced within the report.

Now educators and parents have access to information they need in considering educational options for gifted students. The full two-volume report can be downloaded at http://www.accelerationinstitute.org/nation_deceived/.

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