Blog Archives

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 Outdated information propagated at the undergraduate level is rarely challenged.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

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“A Nation Empowered” with guest, Dr. Ann Shoplik

 

 

gtchat Nation Empowered2 05152015

The recently released report, A Nation Empowered, is a 10 year follow-up to the seminal report, A Nation Deceived, and was the subject of our chat this week with Dr. Ann Shoplik. Dr. Shoplik is the Administrator of the Acceleration Institute at Belin-Blank (University of Iowa) and Co-editor of the new report. Dr. Katie McClarty, who contributed a chapter to the new report, also joined us.

We asked Dr. Shoplik why a new report was written. She explained. “Acceleration is the most-researched, yet under-utilized program option for gifted kids. Policy and practice haven’t kept up with the research on acceleration. Short and long-term research evidence is clear: Acceleration works! Colleges of Education don’t teach acceleration. We must inform administrators and teachers. [And] It was time to update the classic report!” From the report, [A Nation Empowered] was “designed to empower educators with evidence to use in implementing the various types of acceleration. Robust empirical evidence is the most effective means of empowering educators and parents of gifted students.”

Image 3 Acceleration works green

Despite all the research evidence, schools, parents, and teachers still have not accepted the idea of acceleration. There seem to be as many myths about acceleration as there are about being gifted. Combine this with concern about a child’s social-emotional development, lack of experience, a limited knowledge base, personal bias on the part of many educators and it’s easy to see why acceleration has not been implemented on a wide-scale basis.

Image 4 Like minded students

However, it is interesting to note that similar concerns are rarely voiced when discussing student athletes:

“Imagine, if you can, a football coach putting his arm around his starting tailback and telling him the players on the other team are going to feel bad if the tailback runs past them. “So when you get the ball,” the coach tells his player, “ease up.” No coach would ever say that. And yet, in our classrooms, we tell our smart kids, in subtle ways, “Be careful about how you show your smarts. Don’t be too showy.”  A Nation Empowered Vol. 1 P. 39

What are some signs to look for that a student should be accelerated? The number one answer was “boredom”! This happens “when there is a mismatch between the student’s intellectual level and the level of school work,” Dr. Shoplik told us. Teachers, school psychologists, or gifted/talented coordinators may make recommendations for acceleration, but often don’t.

Image 2 School Counselors

The benefits of acceleration are well-documented. Students who are accelerated demonstrate exceptional achievements years later. Dr. Shoplik said, “Failing to accelerate an able student is likely to have negative effects on motivation, productivity; may even lead to dropping out. Achieving success in a class that is challenging bolsters confidence, raises expectations and alters mindsets.”

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It was surprising to learn that there are 20 different types of acceleration! This allows it to be tailored to the needs of the student. Dr. Shoplik elaborated, “Students not ready for a grade skip can accelerate in 1 subject [or opt for] a combined class, distance learning, dual enrollment, or credit by exam.” A full transcript of the chat may be found at Storify.

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Prior to this week’s chat, we welcomed a new sponsor for #gtchat, GiftedandTalented.com. You can read more about this new partnership at the TAGT website here.

gtchat-logo-with-sponsor

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa 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

Links:

Acceleration PowerPoint (registration required) h

Academic Acceleration for Gifted Students: A Nation Empowered from Blog Talk Radio

The Advantages of Acceleration via #gtchat Advisor Lisa Van Gemert

Hoagies’ Blog Hop March 2015: Acceleration

Report Says Schools Still Shortchanging Gifted Kids

Study: Gifted Students Still at Risk of Being Left Behind

Get the Report: A Nation Empowered at the Acceleration Institute

Acceleration Institute Resources for Educators

U.S. States’ Policies on Acceleration at the Acceleration Institute

New Research Supports Positive Impact of Skipping a Grade on Gifted Students’ Career Success & Satisfaction

As A Nation, How Can We Best Empower Our Gifted Kids? via Jonathan Wai

Skip A Grade? Start Kindergarten Early? It’s Not So Easy

Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities (pdf)

Early Enrollment Myths: Social & Emotional Fit

Report Suggests Accelerating Gifted Students

The Grade Skip Dilemma: Why Your Child May Fare Better than You Expect

Exceptionally Gifted Children: Long-Term Outcomes of Academic Acceleration and Nonacceleration (pdf)

Should I accelerate my gifted child?

Iowa Acceleration Scale

Hoagies Gifted Academic Acceleration

Belin-Blank Workshops in Gifted Education

The Gifted Middle School Years

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The concept of the “middle school” took root in the U.S. in the 1980s and has not served the gifted population well since its inception. By definition, it is the opposite of gifted education focusing on early adolescence as a time for cultivating age-peer relationships where team work prevails over individual achievement. Children who may have experienced even minimal gifted programming at the elementary level now see these services vanish. Cooperative learning too often places these students in an untenable position of ‘carrying the load’ in classroom academic endeavors.

“Middle schools can also be difficult for students who were never challenged at the elementary level if no gifted options were available.”

Middle schools can also be difficult for students who were never challenged at the elementary level if no gifted options were available. Persistence, the ability to overcome failure, the lack of developed study skills are all obstacles to academic growth at the middle school level and for some the beginning of underachievement.

Many teachers at this week’s chat conveyed their frustrations with a system that places emphasis on high-stakes testing over deep learning, an attitude from fellow teachers that exceptionality is a bad thing, and that middle school teachers lack even minimal training in gifted education. As teacher Tami Terry pointed out, “GT kids automatically filter in to Pre-AP classes, which can be good and bad, [but there is] no consideration for areas of strength or weakness. So we often end up with a gifted kid, who hates science, in Pre-AP Science struggling and failing.” On the flip side, high school principal Dr. Steve Ritter noted that in middle school, “tracking the kids sometimes starts here. A “stigma” for kids not in middle of the road (low & high achieve) may emerge.”

“Parents play a pivotal role in their gifted child’s transition from elementary to middle school. It’s important to recognize that even a gifted child will face uncertainty, new demands, and academic challenges at school. Middle school students need their parents’ guidance even when they don’t recognize the need.”

Our discussion then turned to the effects of asynchrony on the middle school gifted student. Precocious gifted adolescents still experience asynchrony in social-emotional development. (Kerr & McKay, 2014) Many parents pull their children from public schools during these years and return later in high school. Dating can be challenging when age-peers may have little in common socially, psychologically or intellectually.

A bright spot in the middle school years for gifted students arrived with the introduction of Talent Searches. Available from many institutions across the U.S. (see links below), Talent Searches specifically target intellectually gifted middle-school age students. They provide high quality, accelerated and enriched gifted programming online and during the summer.

Finally, we discussed how parents play a pivotal role in their gifted child’s transition from elementary to middle school. It’s important to recognize that even a gifted child will face uncertainty, new demands, and academic challenges at school. Middle school students need their parents’ guidance even when they don’t recognize the need. Parents should consider changing parenting style at this age – adapt to child’s biological, social-emotional changes.  It’s beneficial to approach pre-teens and teens with a positive attitude by voicing appreciation and approval for good behavior. (Taibbi 2012) A full transcript of this chat may be found on our Storify page.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa 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

 

Links:

Gifted Learners and the Middle School: Problem or Promise? (1995) Tomlinson

Meeting Needs of High Ability & High Potential Learners in Middle Grades (pdf)

Educating Gifted Students in Middle School: A Practical Guide (Amazon)

The War Against Excellence: The Rising Tide of Mediocrity in America’s Middle Schools (Amazon)

Gifted Education in Blue Valley’s Middle Schools

Middle School Gifted & Talented Programs Howard County Public Schools

Middle School Gifted & Talented Services Coppell ISD

Transitioning from Elementary to Middle School: Tips for Parents of Gifted Students

Hoodies, Headphones, and Axe Spray from Jeffrey Shoemaker

Middle School Programs for Gifted Students

Surviving the Middle School Years with your Gifted Child

Caught in the Middle: How to Help Gifted Children Survive the Middle School Years

Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Talent Search

“What is Talent Search?” from Duke TIP

Northwestern University’s Midwest Academic Talent Search

CTY Ireland Talent Search (pdf)

The Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search

Educational Talent Search Program

OR: Summer Math Camp for Highly Gifted Middle School Students

The Tres Columnae Project

Design Process in Education

Cybraryman’s Social Emotional Learning Page http://goo.gl/O5vdYM

Smart Girls in the 21st Century (Amazon) by Barbara Kerr and Robyn McKay

 

Photo courtesy Morguefile.

Best Blogs in the Gifted Community

This week’s Poll topics resulted in the highest number of votes in the past two years. It was great to see many ‘old timers’ at this chat as well as many new faces. A full transcript may be found here.

Below you will find links to sites and blogs shared during the chat and a list of blogs assembled prior to chat. Several of the links are collections of blog links.

Links (from the chat):

How Well Does Gifted Education Use Social Media?

Gifted Challenges “Top Blogs about Gifted Children, Gifted Education, & Parenting”

Ramblings of a Gifted Teacher’s Blog Hop 2014

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop

New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week 2013 *

Gifted Phoenix’s Twitter List

Purdue’s OWL on Cting Blogs in APA Format

Are All Children Gifted?” From Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Where is New Zealand’s Excellence Gap?”  From Gifted Phoenix

Byrdseed Gifted (website)

Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension (education blog)

Engage Their Minds

Raising Lifelong Learners

My Twice Baked Potato

Gifted Resources Blog (Jo Freitag)

Chasing Hollyfeld Through the Gifted Jungle

A Meaningful Mess

Gluten-Free Mum

Joyful Latin Learning – Tres Columnae

Lisa Rivero

Beyond Our Box Gifted Education Beyond the Norm

Farley’s Neverending Death Throes

* “New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week 2014” will be held June 17th to the 23rd. Follow @gtchatmod on Twitter who will provide more information as it becomes available.

 

Links to Blogs (does not imply endorsement):

An Intense Life (Christine Fonseca)

Asynchronous Scholars’ Fund

Belin-Blank (Univ of IA)

Beyond Intelligence (Dona Matthews)

Building Wing Span (Susanne Thomas)

Crushing Tall Poppies

Distilling G and T Ideas

Gifted and Talented Ireland (Peter Lydon)

Gifted Education Perspectives (Ben Hebebrand)

Gifted Exchange from @DavidsonGifted

Gifted Guru (Lisa Van Gemert)

Gifted Matters (Mika Gustavson)

Gifted Out of the Box

Gifted Parenting Support (Lisa Conrad)

Gifted Phoenix See Blogroll

Head Guru Teacher

High Ability

Innreach’s Blog  (Leslie Graves)

Irish Gifted Education Blog

Krumelurebloggen (Norway)

Laughing at Chaos (Jen Merrill)

Living the Life Fantastic (Karla Archer)

Parenting Gifted Kids

Prufrock Press Blog

Ramblings of a Gifted Teacher (Jeffrey Shoemaker)

Red, White and Grew (Pamela Price)

Smarte Barn (Norway)

Sprite’s Site (Jo Freitag)

Talent Igniter Blog (Deborah Ruf)

Talent Talk (Northwestern)

Talento y Euducacion (Javier Touron – Spain)

Teach a Gifted Kid (Angie French)

Teach From the Heart (Jen Marten)

Terry Bradley – Gifted Education

The Deep End (Stephanie Tolan)

The Maker Mom: Gifted Kids

Unexpected Gifts

Unwrapping the Gifted

Venspired (Krissy Venosdale)

Watch Out for Gifted People (Sarah Wilson GHF)

Wenda Sheard Thoughts on Life Learning

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