What Have We Learned from A Nation Empowered?

The goal of A Nation Empowered is to provide parents, educators, and administrators with the evidence and tools needed to make informed decisions about allowing gifted students to move ahead in school. It is a follow-up to the watershed report on acceleration, A Nation Deceived. Acceleration means allowing gifted students to move ahead in school, at a pace appropriate to their needs. Acceleration can be implemented individually, in small groups, and in large groups. The focus is on the individual child, and the important question to ask is, “What is best for that student?”

Acceleration comes in at least 20 forms, including grade-skipping, moving ahead in only one subject, Advanced Placement courses, concurrent enrollment in high school and college, distance learning, and curriculum compacting.  For very capable students, no educational intervention is as effective as one of these 20 types of acceleration. Each type of acceleration moves students through an educational program at a faster pace or younger age than is typical. Each type of acceleration can be used to match the level, complexity, and pace of the curriculum to the readiness and motivation of the student.

Acceleration helps level the playing field between students from schools that have extensive economic resources and schools that are economically disadvantaged. Acceleration is a low-cost intervention that can be implemented in any school.  A Nation Empowered aims to empower readers through evidence and tools to implement a variety of accelerative strategies. These tools are readily available to educators and families.

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