Definitions & Terms
Formal Identification Procedure
Academic Acceleration Policy
Academic Acceleration Policy
the information for this policy has been taken from the Guidelines for
Developing an Academic Acceleration Policy published in November of 2009
by the Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration.)
As part of its
PK-12 educational program, the Pleasant Valley School District serves a broad
continuum of learners. By defined intent, its mission is to: “to prepare
students to succeed in a diverse, global society by providing superior quality
opportunities in a safe environment for each student to become a life-long
learner and by continuously improving and customizing the educational
experience.” Upon occasion, in order to customize the educational experience for
some students, it becomes necessary to accelerate the process. The ensuing
policy was developed to provide a consistent set of procedures to follow for
making decisions relative to grade-based acceleration.
of Acceleration Terminology
– Progress through an education program at rates faster or at ages younger than
conventional (Pressey, 1949)
acceleration – This type of acceleration typically shortens the number of years
a student spends in the K-12 system by such mechanisms as early admission to
school, whole grade acceleration, early graduation, and others
admission to kindergarten – Students enter kindergarten prior to achieving the
minimum age for school entry as set by state policy. In the state of Iowa,
and by state law, early admission to kindergarten is not permissible. Further,
students must have reached the age of six by September 15 of any given year to
be enrolled in first grade.
Principles for Grade-Based Acceleration
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 the previous grade. Such students are typically among the top 10% in a
class, and they should be expected to remain in the top 10% throughout their
academic careers. (Assouline, et al, 2009)
Acceleration should either have a positive impact on social and behavioral
adjustment or maintain the student’s same level of (appropriate) social and
behavioral adjustment. Acceleration should not negatively impact social and
Decisions about grade-based acceleration should be based upon a thorough,
team-based review of the factors relevant to acceleration.
Consideration for grade-based acceleration and invoking the referral and
selection process are an initial step and do not dictate the outcome.
of an Acceleration Policy
elements of an acceleration policy can be categorized into three areas:
referral and screening, assessment and decision-making and planning.
being considered for grade-based acceleration must be referred to the building
administrator as the first step in the process. The referral can be made by a
teacher, a parent, a school counselor, the student and/or other school
personnel with appropriate knowledge of the student in question. In order for
the referral to move forward in the process, it must be accompanied by one or
more of the following:
Scores at the 98%ile or above on
an individual intelligence test (Stanford Binet, Wechsler, Kaufman Anderson,
or any recognized test for measuring intelligence
Evidence of academic functioning
two to three years beyond the student’s age peers. In terms of standardized
achievement testing, this would be manifested with scores at/above the
Performance of tasks well above
age peers in such areas as problem-solving, writing, vocabulary, and/or
expressive arts (art, music, drama)
References (at least two) from
child care workers, pediatricians, preschool teachers, or others having
direct knowledge of the student and describing levels of precocious behavior
receipt of the request for consideration of acceleration with the appropriate
evidence substantiating the referral, the building administrator will gather
school personnel to review the existing information and the curricular
modifications currently in place.
substantive evidence for consideration of acceleration, and the conditions
stated in the critical items checklist of the Iowa Acceleration Scale
addressed, the building principal will convene the members of the child study
of the child study team will include the following:
child study team will review the available student information and make a
determination of the next step in the process. Possible steps might include:
continued monitoring of student
of classroom modifications
student observation by other
specific information gathering
systematic assessment for
decision is made to proceed with the systematic assessment for grade-based
acceleration, it is done with the parent’s approval and understanding in
writing (see approval form) that embarking in the process is not a
guarantee for grade-based acceleration. It is a process instituted to
gather additional information about a particular student to make appropriate
educational decisions for that student.
point, if developmentally appropriate, the student being considered for
acceleration is given an explanation of the process. If, after a clear
explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of acceleration, the student
expresses a lack of desire to proceed, the process should be discontinued.
the guidance and direction of the talented and gifted teacher (or proxy) on
the child study team, the Iowa Acceleration Scale, third edition
(IAS-3) will be completed on the student. This applies to a student in grades
K-8. The Iowa Acceleration Scale is a guidance tool that incorporates
input from parents, teachers, and the student and is a helpful instrument in
guiding the decision-making process. While it is a useful tool, going through
the Iowa Acceleration Scale does not mean that a child is necessarily
destined to be accelerated. At the high school level, end of course
assessments will be administered to determine appropriate credits to award and
the subsequent course sequence for the student to complete.
result of the decision to move forward with the use of the Iowa Acceleration
Scale, further assessments may need to be completed to provide the required
data necessary to complete the decision-making process.
upon the additional testing to be completed, a timeline for sharing the
information will be developed. The timeline will not exceed 45 calendar days
from the time parental approval was given.
the time specified, a meeting of the child study team will be convened for the
purpose of sharing the information gathered and for making a determination to
support/refute grade-based acceleration. This decision will be made according
to the guidelines suggested by the Iowa Acceleration Scale. A written
statement will substantiate the decision and rationale of the child study
team. A copy of the written statement will be made available to the parents
and a copy placed into the student’s cumulative record folder.
Students who are not recommended for whole grade acceleration based upon the
assessment may be considered for content modifications in one or more subject
upon a decision to move forward with the grade-based acceleration, the child
study team should establish a timeline for the transition process and identify
a team member (not the parents) to oversee its implementation.
logistics or details of operationalizing the acceleration need to be agreed
upon by all parties involved (informing other students, procuring supplies,
changing school records, etc.)
- The child
study team should establish a designated transition period for the placement.
During this time, the parent or guardian may request, in writing,
discontinuation of the acceleration. At that point, the student is moved to
the placement prior to the acceleration.