It shouldn’t be left to one person to make a decision about academic acceleration, especially whole-grade acceleration (also called grade-skipping). It takes a team to consider all the relevant information and implement a plan.
At the Belin-Blank Center, we recommend that this child study team include:
- at least one parent or guardian,
- a facilitator (often a gifted coordinator),
- the child’s current teacher, and
- the “receiving teacher” in the higher grade with whom the child would be placed.
An administrator, such as a principal, might also participate in the team meeting. Additional individuals who might be consulted during the process include other teachers, the school counselor, the school psychologist, and the gifted education teacher.
Of course, the student needs to be included in the discussions in an age-appropriate manner, although not in the final meeting where the data are discussed and the decision is made.
You might wonder about which teacher would be considered the “current teacher” if a student has different teachers for different subjects. Consider selecting a teacher who knows the student well. It is certainly appropriate to request feedback from any teacher who is currently working with the student. More than one might participate more actively in the process and attend meeting(s) about the student. For receiving teacher, consider asking several teachers who would have that student in the future to participate in the discussion.
One person on the team (often the gifted coordinator) serves as facilitator and gathers appropriate information such as test scores and feedback from other team members. Once the information is gathered, the facilitator schedules a team meeting to discuss the “fit” of acceleration and to make a decision. Finally, the facilitator helps to develop and implement a transition plan, so the move from one grade to another is smooth.
The Belin-Blank Center is in the process of developing the new Integrated Acceleration System, which will help educators and families investigate the “fit” of subject acceleration, grade-skipping, and early entrance to kindergarten or college for their student, with special considerations for twice-exceptional students.
If you’re interested in learning even more about academic acceleration, the Belin-Blank Center will offer a 3-semester-hour graduate course on academic acceleration this summer. The course will be taught entirely online from June 7- August 6 by Dr. Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik, one of the co-authors of the Iowa Acceleration Scale and the new Integrated Acceleration System. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details about the class and about enrollment.
And be sure to check back for the upcoming launch of the Integrated Acceleration System or click here to be notified when it is released.