Category Archives: Acceleration

Building a Successful Gifted Program

Gifted programs should ensure a continuum of services throughout a GT student’s entire K-12 school career. They should include opportunities for all forms of acceleration, differentiation in the regular classroom, and alternative learning environments. All gifted programs need a social-emotional component to fully meet the needs of gifted students.

Best practices in gifted identification require a multifaceted approach. Reliance on only one measurement, such as IQ tests, will result in many students being missed. Out-of-level testing are essential to avoid inaccurate measurements. Because the best programs are tailored to student needs and not vice versa; universal testing as well as parent and teacher recommendations, should be utilized. Gifted identification should be culturally sensitive, linguistically appropriate, and take into account low-SES environmental factors such as lack of access to technology.

The best gifted programs provide challenge to all GT students include PG, twice-exceptional, and ELL. Curriculum should promote authentic experiential learning experiences and be conducive to exploration of student interests. A gifted curriculum should be more complex, provide in-depth study of key-concepts; and stress higher-level thinking, creativity, and problem solving. It can include enrichment and compacting as needed. Services may include standalone gifted classrooms; full-grade or subject acceleration; full or part day pull-out; independent study; early entrance/early out; dual enrollment in college classes; and counseling services.

Parents should be included in district planning and evaluation of gifted programs. Programs serve students and parents are often good judges of their child’s need. Their involvement can be a conduit for advocacy of gifted programs. As programs develop, parents need to be informed of identification criteria and procedures; and have access to application forms. Utilizing classroom tech, social media, and newsletters are all ways to stay connected. Forming a Parent Support or Advocacy group is a great way to build support for a school’s gifted programs. Parents can be invited to special information sessions at Parent Night events or engaged at regular monthly meetings.

Professional development is essential in a high quality gifted program. Few teachers receive any coursework in gifted education during their undergraduate years. PD should be often and on-going to be effective. Gifted endorsement is highly recommended. Most endorsements are attainable online. Many states require teachers of gifted students to receive continuing education credits in gifted education.

What criteria should be used for evaluating effectiveness of program options & design? Criteria for student products should high-level and exemplary. Student products should be comparable to those of professionals in the field, challenge existing ideas, and produce new ones. Criteria for evaluating a program’s success and effectiveness should rely on standardized, achievement, and performance-based assessments as well as program feedback from all stakeholders – students, teachers and parents. All students, including GT students, should demonstrate academic growth with special care identify areas of strength and weakness in order to modify existing programs to better meet students’ needs.

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Resources:

Gifted Program Development

Building an Exemplary Gifted Program

Elements of a Good School Gifted Program

South Carolina – Gifted and Talented Best Practices Guidelines: Identification (pdf)

Gifted Education in America is Finally Moving Past its Legacy of Inequality

Why School Districts Are Rethinking Gifted & Talented Programs

Why Grouping Kids Based on Ability Works

Duke TIP Study Finds Using Local Criteria Identifies More Students as ‘Gifted’

Featured California Schools for Gifted Learners

Top Four Things to Look for in Your Gifted Program

The Best Kind of Schools for Gifted Kids

TAGT: Program Evaluation

Program Evaluation in Gifted Education (Book)

Gifted Education Strategies

Developing Exemplary Gifted Developing Exemplary Gifted Programs: Programs: What does the research say? What does the research say? (pdf)

High-Potential Students Thrive when School Districts Develop Sustainable Gifted Services

Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students 2019 Final (pdf)

UK: What Works in Gifted Education? A Literature Review (pdf)

Is Gifted Education a Bright Idea? Assessing the Impact of Gifted and Talented Programs on Achievement and Behavior (pdf)

What Works in Gifted Education: Documenting the Effects of an Integrated Curricular/Instructional Model for Gifted Students

Gifted Education in China

State of the Nation in Gifted Education 2012 – 2013 (pdf)

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Accelerating GT Students

 

Academic acceleration is a cost-effective way to meet many of the needs of gifted students across the spectrum which is hampered only by myths debunked long ago. It is, however, only as good as its implementation. A well-researched educational plan that is responsive to individual student needs can make all the difference in success or failure for the student.

With all the research in existence, why do some educators/admins still balk at acceleration? It only takes one poorly executed attempt at acceleration for a single student to influence school administrations for decades thereafter in a school district. Unfortunately, too often decision makers do not take the time to review the research involving academic acceleration. Outdated information propagated at the undergraduate level is rarely challenged.

Pertinent information that should be included in consideration of acceleration is test scores, psychological evaluations, and teacher and parent observations. An often forgotten part of acceleration is taking into consideration how the student feels about acceleration and the possible effects on the family. If a child does not want to be accelerated, it probably won’t work.

Every school district should have a policy on acceleration. This will ensure that the process is equally applied to all students; everyone is aware of the option to accelerate; and provides guidelines for the process. Administrators should take a deep dive into all the avenues of acceleration and make the information available to their faculty and parents to aid in the decision-making process and to provide adequate resources.

For most GT students, the earlier the acceleration; the easier it is to minimize knowledge gaps. Most students being considered for acceleration are generally identified as to having above-grade level abilities. For older GT students, knowledge gaps can be addressed by such avenues as summer school, tutoring, online classes, the use of mentors, or independent study.

Parents who want to support the acceleration process need to keep open lines of communication with school administrators and those teachers who will be directly involved with their child’s program. They should take the time to talk to their GT child about all the facets of acceleration as well as other family members who may be affected by the child’s acceleration. It’s always better to work through the issues beforehand. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Developing Academic Acceleration Policies: Whole Grade, Early Entrance & Single Subject (pdf)

Dual Enrollment: Participation and Characteristics (pdf 2019)

Understanding Acceleration Implementing Research-Based Practices for GATE (pdf)

Life in the Fast Lane: Effects of Early Grade Acceleration on High School and College Outcomes

Subject Acceleration: Who, What, How?

Developing Academic Acceleration Policies: Whole Grade, Early Entrance & Single Subject

Mathematically Gifted Accelerated Students Participating in an Ability Group: A Qualitative Interview Study

Acceleration or Enrichment? Which one is better for gifted kids?

A Nation Empowered Vols. 1 & 2 (Free Download)

What One Hundred Years of Research Says About Ability Grouping and Acceleration for Students K-12

Why is Academic Acceleration (Still) So Controversial?

Why Am I an Advocate for Academic Acceleration?

Possible Economic Benefits of Full-Grade Acceleration

Academic Acceleration: Is It Right for My Child?

NAGC TIP Sheet: Acceleration (pdf)

LesLinks: Acceleration (LiveBinders)

Cybraryman’s Acceleration Page

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 6

Sprite’s Site: Belonging – A Place of Sanctuary

Acceleration Institute

Hoagies: Academic Acceleration

Duke TIP: Academic Acceleration and Ability Grouping Work

Davidson Young Scholars – How We Can Help

College Versus Kindergarten and Radical Acceleration

Image courtesy of Flickr   CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

When Full Inclusion Fails Gifted Students

Full inclusion was first used in regards to special education; a situation in which parents pushed for and sought legal solutions to compel schools to not place their children in separate classrooms. Full inclusion for gifted education means that GT students are kept in the regular classroom and the classroom teacher is responsible for differentiating instruction to meet the needs of students.

Most reasons for insisting on full inclusion of GT students are based on myths which claim  these students will be fine on their own. School personnel often cite personal biased reasoning for why students should be kept in the regular classroom; that these students already possess intellectual advantage and no further accommodation should be needed.

What are some of negative impacts of full inclusion for GT students? It doesn’t take long to see the negative impact of mixed ability classrooms on GT students. Teasing and outright bullying can lead to being socially ostracized by age-peers. In classrooms where teachers are expected to meet the needs of wide-ranging abilities, GT students are generally a low priority. When these students are not challenged, they are unprepared to face challenges when they do come.

Curriculum differentiation has the potential to work for high ability students, but few educators receive adequate training to provide quality differentiation that meets these students’ needs. The academic needs of high ability students go well beyond curriculum. GT students learn best when educated with intellectual peers and by teachers trained to work with them.

What are some alternatives to full inclusion that work? Some of the best alternatives are multi-age, standalone programs where GT students are challenged by ability. Many forms of acceleration are excellent alternatives for GT students and cost-effective for schools with tight budgets. Some options include early entrance, dual-enrollment, subject and whole grade acceleration.

What approach can parents take to seek real solutions when inclusion isn’t working? Parents must engage in well-informed advocacy; know school district policy and finances, learn about possible alternatives, attend school board meetings, and know who the decision makers are at the state level. Most parents soon learn that there is power in numbers when trying to influence school policy decisions, availability of programs for GT learners, and potential extra-curricular activities. Parent advocacy groups are essential. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1PM NZST/11 AM AEST/Midnight UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Highly Gifted Children in Full Inclusion Classrooms

Gifted Programs: Is Inclusion the Answer?

Educating Gifted Students in Regular Classroom: Efficacy, Attitudes and Differentiation of Instruction (pdf)

The Gifted Child and the Inclusive Classroom (pdf)

Teaching Gifted Students in Full-Inclusion Classrooms

The Purpose of a Self-Contained Classroom

Threat or Challenge? Teacher Beliefs about Gifted Students and their Relationship to Teacher Motivation

Teacher Perspective on Differentiation for Gifted Students in the General Education Classroom (pdf)

Teacher Attitudes towards Gifted Education in Rural School Districts (pdf)

Competing with Myths about the Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Students

The Development of the Educators’ Attitudes toward Gifted Education Scale (pdf)

Factors That Promote/Inhibit Teaching Gifted Students in a Regular Class: Results from a Professional Development Program for Chemistry Teachers

The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners, 2nd Edition via @ASCD

Developing Exemplary Gifted Programs: Programs: What does the research say? What does the research say? (pdf)

Future Trends in Gifted Education (TEMPO – pdf)

How and Why Teachers Need to Support Gifted Students

Ability and Performance Comparisons of Gifted Students in Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Settings (pdf)

Practitioners’ Conceptions of Academic Talent and Giftedness: Essential Factors in Deciding Classroom and School Composition (pdf)

Celebrating Mediocrity? How Schools Shortchange Gifted Students

Inequitable Access to Gifted Education

Navigating the Education System: Empowering Parents for Effective Advocacy (pdf)

The Case for Gifted Education as an Equity Issue

Cybraryman’s Inclusion Page

Black-White Gap Widens Faster for High Achievers

Image courtesy of Pixabay   Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Gifted Students in Secondary/Higher Education

At the high school level, there are many ‘options’ for GT students which may include AP, IB, magnet schools, honors classes, or dual enrollment. Additional ‘options’ are early entrance (plus other types of acceleration), talent searches, and distance education classes. Higher education programs include Honors Programs designed as cohorts, accelerated curriculum, study abroad, or mentorships.

Nothing wrong with AP, etc, or honors programs, but they tend to be focused on high achievers. An AP or honors class is only as good for a GT kid as the teacher or prof in charge. If they get GT, it’s great… if not… it can be a struggle ~ Clint Rodriguez, Secondary Gifted Specialist in Dallas, TX 

The impact of a challenging curriculum on GT secondary students can motivate students to become leaders and find success in gifted programs. Research has found a strong correlation between support for the whole student/environmental factors and student success,

Providing mentoring programs to secondary GT students have been found to be key to their identity development. Mentoring programs can provide secondary and college GT students with the opportunity to connect with their local communities and develop networks for future career prospects. Mentors of GT students in higher education are role models for success and hope for the future; especially important for at-risk students.

When GT students are challenged to produce authentic products, it has real-world implications; such as community activism. Society benefits from GT students who become well-rounded students, leaders, and those committed to work for lasting changes for good.

There needs to be a celebration of learning, encouragement to research and discover and persist when things become difficult. ~ Jo Freitag, Co-ordinator Gifted Resources, Australia

Environmental factors such as homogeneous grouping of GT students with others of like-ability and the availability of enrichment programs can foster a mindset of achievement. The presence of supportive parents and family or mentors who guide, support or share expertise can also foster an achievement mindset. Environmental factors can help GT students to navigate challenges and learn self-regulation.

Research has found that the introduction of curriculum that encourages creativity can enhance student success. University faculty should use open-ended assessments rather than written assignments and traditional testing. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Starting a High School Mentoring Program for the Gifted: Opportunities and Challenges (pdf)

Mentors’ Contributions to Gifted Adolescents’ Affective, Social, and Vocational Development (Roeper Review)

Effects of Service Learning on Young, Gifted Adolescents and Their Community

Gifted Secondary School Students: The Perceived Relationship Between Enrichment & Achievement Orientation (pdf)

Does Higher Education Foster Critical and Creative Learners? (pdf)

The Role of Creative Coursework in Skill Development for University Seniors (pdf)

Mathematically Gifted Accelerated Students Participating in an Ability Group: A Qualitative Interview Study

‘Honors’ Should Mean a Challenge, Not an Upgrade to First Class

An Investigation of Student Psychological Wellbeing: Honors Versus Nonhonors Undergraduate Education (Journal of Advanced Academics)

Programs and Services for Gifted Secondary Students: A Guide to Recommended Practices (Prufrock Press)

Status of High School Gifted Programs (pdf)

Expanding the Conception of Giftedness to Include Co-cognitive Traits and Promote Social Capital (Renzulli)

Research on Giftedness and Gifted Education: Status of the Field and Considerations for the Future

What the Research Says: Gifted Education Works (pdf)

Who Are The ‘Gifted And Talented’ And What Do They Need?

The Efficacy of Advanced Placement Programs for Gifted Students

Research That Supports Need for & Benefits of Gifted Education The National Association for Gifted Children (pdf)

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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