Academic acceleration is the intervention for advanced learners that has shown the greatest effect on student achievement. Participants in the acceleration study will receive (a) free professional learning opportunities around what acceleration actually is and how it can be used, (b) a universal screening process to assist in determining which students should be considered for acceleration, and (c) resources and training that will help you implement grade acceleration decisions for those students who wish to accelerate.
Consider joining the identification study if your school/district uses universal screening with a teacher rating scale as part of identifying students for gifted services. The team at NCRGE would love to talk with you about participating in one of our new studies. Participating schools and districts will have hands-on support to review and improve their district’s identification system for increased equity and efficiency.
Since many students were working remotely from home this spring, parents had the unique opportunity for an up-close view of what happens in school on a regular basis. Perhaps you are one of those parents who was surprised by how quickly your child grasped new material being taught, and now you have a nagging question in the back of your mind: “Will my child be adequately challenged by his or her school placement in the upcoming school year?”
If you suspect the answer may be “No,” the next question is what would challenge your child appropriately? Does he or she need to skip a grade? Move ahead in math? One of the best tools for gathering evidence for acceleration decisions like these is above-level testing. We’ve shared the secret of above-level testing here before; briefly, it involves administering a test designed for older students to bright young students in an effort to discover exceptional academic talent. This information helps us to understand what a student is ready to learn and if he or she is ready for the academic challenges presented by a grade skip or subject acceleration.
How do we get started? The Belin-Blank Center and many other university-based talent searches provide above-level testing. Students in 4th-6th grade take I-Excel. Even if your school isn’t currently offering group testing, your child could participate in individual testing using I-Excel. Details about this option are found here. Parents first identify a teacher who is willing to proctor the test, and begins the registration process using this form. The Belin-Blank Center also provides ACT testing for 7th-9th graders in a group setting. Once the above-level testing is completed, families receive a detailed eight-page report from the Belin-Blank Center explaining the test results and providing additional resources useful in making acceleration decisions.
We understand that these are challenging times, so we want to add that we aren’t trying to put additional stress on families or educators. Instead, we wanted to make sure that those of you who are ready to think about these issues have the tools you need to help inform your decisions. Our goal is to support you.
You will find much more information and links to decision-making tools and research about acceleration on the Acceleration Institute website, which is provided by the Belin-Blank Center. The Belin-Blank Center has been a catalyst for research and programming on academic acceleration for the past 30 years. We’re currently working on a new product, the Integrated Acceleration System, which will assist educators and families in working through the process of making decisions about grade-skipping, subject acceleration, early entrance to kindergarten, and early entrance to college. Sign up here if you would like more information about the Integrated Acceleration System as it becomes available.
We might be able to help! Above-level testing is a useful tool for gathering data needed for decisions such as: Does my student need additional challenge in a particular subject? Is my child ready to skip a grade?
I-Excel testing will be available this summer. Bright 4th-6th graders can take the test individually or in small groups (supervised by a proctor). I-Excel is an online test, so we are able to offer testing even if schools have not yet reopened. Parents and relatives are not allowed to proctor the test, so testing cannot occur until the stay-at-home guidance is no longer in effect. Licensed educators may proctor the test.
Are you interested in learning more about I-Excel testing for your child or students in your school? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We at the Belin-Blank Center are happy to support parents and students in whatever ways we can. Our primary concern is the safety and health of all involved. We recommend that you follow the guidance provided by your governor and local authorities in terms of meeting with people outside your family any time in the next few months.
Development and refinement of preservice and inservice educators’ understanding of academic programs; needs of gifted and talented students, including diverse and often underrepresented groups of students; rationale for and implementation of a comprehensive program model for gifted students. (3 sh)
Interpretation of standardized tests and other measurement instruments used to identify academic talent and program effectively for grades K-12; ability, aptitude, achievement tests; current issues in the uses of various instruments. (3 sh)
Doctoral students should enroll in PSQF:5226:0EXW Assessment of Giftedness.
Dates & Time: January 22, 2019 – March 15, 2019 (you’ll need to contact us to give you special permission to enroll in this class—just email email@example.com).
The Center also has a two-semester-hour class that fulfills the requirement for an Administrative strand class, as well as providing a much better understanding of policy, administrative, and evaluations issues in gifted education:
Policy, administrative, evaluation issues in developing and maintaining gifted programs in a school setting; participants develop gifted program and policies for a school; for school executives and coordinators of gifted programs. (2 sh)
The Integrated Curriculum Model (ICM) allows participants to learn more about the development of exemplary curriculum units through the study of this model, developed at the Center for Gifted Education (William & Mary). The model is designed specifically for gifted learners and emphasizes three dimensions: advanced content, higher level processes and product development, and interdisciplinary concepts, issues, and themes. Especially useful when paired with EDTL:4096:0WKC, Developing Gifted Curriculum for Gifted Learners, (March 12 – April 1). (1 s.h.)
Dr. Chandler worked closely with Dr. Joyce VanTassel-Baska in the development of the Integrated Curriculum Model (ICM), as well as the development of specific units that use the ICM (which has a strong research base pointing to its effectiveness with gifted learners).
You can find the list of all current semester coursework by visiting belinblank.org/educators (follow the link to Schedule). The Belin-Blank Center is dedicated to supporting your professional learning interests!