Many children need advancement to keep them engaged and to empower them to reach their full potential. Acceleration is a researched and supported part of educational intervention and can be used as a cornerstone for gifted children. The National Association of Gifted Children states, “The practice of educational acceleration has long been used to match high-level student’s general ability and specific talent with optimal learning opportunities.”
The Identification Process
More often than not, schools with gifted programs have a set identification process. The process can be lengthy, but when done with fidelity, it does ensure correct identification.
Usually, parents can request to have their children assessed, but the child probably needs to be referred by her teacher. If your child has not been identified for gifted education, but you feel she should qualify, talk to your child’s teacher. Referrals are reviewed by a team who knows about giftedness, and the team evaluates all students.
Evaluations usually consist of multiple considerations, including standardized tests, district-wide assessments, student work, and observations. Oftentimes, a team of educators who work with your child will determine if your child meets the district’s and/or state’s qualifications. Keep in mind that these educators work with hundreds, if not thousands, of students. Hearing that your child does not qualify for gifted education in your district can be tough to swallow. But a set identification process enables educators to evaluate whether your child is truly discrepant academically from her peers. If she does qualify, that same group will include you in a discussion about appropriately delivering an educational plan for your child.
Only fifteen out of the fifty states have a mandatory acceleration policy in place. Most other states allow the school districts to decide how to identify gifted students and how to deliver gifted education. This is why it is so important that you are aware of what services your school district offers gifted children and what supplemental services are available to you.
Acceleration “allows students to move through traditional curriculum and/or grade structures at a faster rate than typical. This [curriculum] may include early kindergarten or college entrance, grade-skipping, dual-credit courses (AP or concurrent enrollment), and subject-based acceleration.”
Check to see if your state is one of the fifteen that has the acceleration policy act, and learn more about what acceleration is. According to the NAGC, acceleration “allows students to move through traditional curriculum and/or grade structures at a faster rate than typical. This [curriculum] may include early kindergarten or college entrance, grade-skipping, dual-credit courses (AP or concurrent enrollment), and subject-based acceleration.” Also, find outside resources that will help your child. Examples would be the NAGC Tip Sheet, the NAGC Practices, and the Acceleration Institute.
You will always be the best advocate for your child. If you feel she needs more enrichment, it is worth looking into how to utilize her school’s gifted program to support her. If she doesn’t qualify for the school’s program, don’t hesitate to find outside resources to accelerate her learning in other ways.