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Acceleration: What the Research Says 

  • In a study of high-ability children who had been accelerated, 71% reported satisfaction with their acceleration experience. Of the participants who reported they were unsatisfied, the majority indicated they would have preferred more acceleration.  [1]

  • Talented students from accelerated classes outperform non-accelerates of the same age and IQ by almost one full year on achievement tests. [2]

  • Talented students from enriched classes outperform initially equivalent students from conventional classes by 4 to 5 months on grade equivalent scales. [3]

  • Students who were allowed early entrance to elementary school averaged six months ahead in achievement when compared to their age peers during the same year. Additionally, these students showed improvement in socialization and self-esteem compared to slight difficulties faced by advanced students who were not accelerated. [4]

  • A long-term study of the Academic Talent Search program demonstrated that five years beyond their participation in the program, students viewed the experience positively, attributing feelings of improved self-esteem and self-control to the program. [5]


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[1] Lubinski, D., Webb, R. M., Morelock, M. J., & Benbow. C. (2001). Top 1 in 10,000: A 10-Year follow-up of the profoundly gifted, Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(4), 720.

[2,3] Kulik, J. A. (1992). An analysis of the research on ability grouping: Historical and contemporary perspectives (RBDM 9204). Storrs:  University of Connecticut, the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.  http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/nrcgt/kulik.html

[4] Rogers, K. B. (2002)  Re-Forming Gifted Education: How parents and teachers can match the program to the child. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press. 2002.

[5] Thomas, T.A. (1980) Acceleration for the academically talented. ERIC Documents Reproduction Service (ED 307303).