Acceleration May Be Smart Move for Bright Students

A University of Iowa report finds that accelerating gifted students in school yields positive academic and social results. According to a recent study, when parents advocate for their children to have appropriate placement and the decision is made very carefully, acceleration can work well.

Dr. Susan Assouline is one of the study's lead authors and associate director of the University of Iowa's Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. She says holding bright students back instead of moving them ahead a grade level or two can be detrimental.

“They're not learning anything new,” Dr. Assouline says, “so they're just sitting, day in and day out, hearing the same things and they're not being challenged and boredom then ensues and after that you have disengagement. And so anytime you have a child who's disengaged from school, then you've lost that child.”

The researcher says public schools are holding back some of America's brightest students by keeping them in the same grade with their same-age peers. “Most educators are concerned that the child will suffer socially and emotionally,” she says, “and because of that, they feel that the best thing to do is to just keep them in place, to not move them forward, even though that would be the right thing to do academically.”

But what the research has indicated, Assouline points out, “is that these students are ready, in general — both academically as well as socially and emotionally — and that [acceleration is] an advantage to them, not only academically, but socially and emotionally.”

Although the education expert says it is impossible to determine how many students are ready to be accelerated, she notes that the number of students taking advanced placement course work has increased dramatically in recent years. Also, she notes, 40 percent of junior high students who qualify to take a test for college-bound seniors are already exceeding the performance of college-bound seniors.

Assouline says it is important for educators to be open-minded and cooperative when parents tell them they would like to consider whether their child may need a more accelerated program.

(This article courtesy of Agape Press).

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