Acceleration is a grouping strategy, designed to move high-ability-gifted and talented students rapidly through curricula ahead of the general class, toward early academic completion and career entry, Rogers 2002. Rogers 2002, associates cognitive processing in gifted and talented students with information chunking; a slow, repetitive instructional pace she cautions, disrupts the learning process and leads to underachievement in this group of learners. There are several forms of acceleration.

Qualifying Characteristics:

Advanced comprehension and retentivenes

Highly developed language and communication skills

Acute spatial abilities

Profound interest

Advanced only in certain subjects.

Common forms of acceleration:

Cross age or Cross grade grouping

Single subject acceleration


Small flexible in-class groups.

Additional Forms of Acceleration

University programs, talent search - looking for the top 1% middle and high school students.

Distant Learning - Internet courses - geared toward student interest or college credit

Mentorship - School curriculum is altered to accommodate student interaction with an expert in an area of interest

Grade or Standard Level Skipping - advancing one or more grade or standard levels. Note - In a system where student placement is based on age, grade skipping provides a more challenging curriculum in a classroom with older and more intellectually compatible students. Because younger students are placed into an older lifestyle there are fewer leadership opportunities.

Early Entrance - Entering kindergarten early, shortening kindergarten year or skipping it altogether and moving on to the first grade.

Concurrent Enrollment in Specific Content Areas - Middle School/ Junior-High students take high school courses or high-schoolers take college level courses in areas of high ability. Time is split between schools.

Early Admission to College:

College Board Advanced Placement

International Baccalaureate program

Gifted or Talented/ Acceleration or Enrichment:

The label "gifted and talented" actually identifies two different types of learner, Rogers 2002; the gifted (high-potential), and the talented "high-ability." The "gifted," Gagne's 1993, have extraordinary natural intellect; the talented have both high intelligence and special abilities.

Twice-exceptional learners, whose high potential often goes unnoticed, fall into Gagne's "gifted" group; their gifts are masked by social-emotional disposition and various cognitive and physical circumstance.

"Gifted and talented" or high ability students are geared for acceleration, while the high-potential "gifted" are more suited for challenging enrichment opportunities where interests can be pursued. These two different kinds of learning needs should be taken into account when grouping high ability and high potential students. See - "Small Flexible in- class Grouping" below.

"Gifted" High Potential Characteristics:

"Gifted" High Potential Characteristics:

High academic interests


"Gifted and Talented" High Ability Characteristics:

High achievement test scores.

Pursue leadership roles by leading group work, projects, and extra-curricular activities.

Far exceeds others in problem-solving, accuracy, speed, thoroughness.

Demonstrates fast processing ability

Enrichment opportunities are presented in the various curriculum design models located under "Lesson Development" in the footer section.

Online Sources


Enrichment versus Acceleration

RTI Response to Gifted and Talented Education

Hoagies Gifted Education Page on Underachievement: Plateauing

Research Articles

Clark, B. (2008). Growing up gifted. Pearson Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River New Jersey.

Colangelo, N., Assouline, S. G., Marron, M. A., Castellano, J. A., Clinkenbeard, P. R., Rogers, K., & Smith, D. (2010). Guidelines for developing an academic acceleration policy. Journal Of Advanced Academics, 21(2), 180-203.

Coleman, M. (2003). Exploring Secondary Options: Four Variables for Success. Gifted Child Today, 26(1), 22-24.

Cross, T. L. (2002). Putting the well-being of all students (including gifted students) first. Gifted Child Today, 25(4), 14-17.

Hoogeveen, L., van Hell, J. G., & Verhoeven, L. (2005). Teacher attitudes toward academic acceleration and accelerated students in the Netherlands. Journal For The Education Of The Gifted, 29(1), 30-59.

Karnes, F. A. & Bean, S.M (2005). Methods and materials for teaching the gifted. Prufrock Press Inc. Waco, Texas.

Rogers, K.B. (2002). Reforming gifted education. Great Potential Press Inc. Scottsdale AZ.

VanTassel-Baska, J. (2004). The acceleration of gifted students programs and curricula. In Karnes, F. A. & Stephens, K. R. (eds.) fastback series, Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. amber, A. (2002). Gifted Readers: Who Are They, and How Can They Be Served in the Classroom Gifted Child Today, 25(2), 14-20.

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