Acceleration

I don’t focus on acceleration, because it is a proven concept. It’s like discussing whether “communication” is worthwhile, or maybe whether children will be socially isolated if we let them talk…

Acceleration is a strategy that allows a student to progress through school at a faster than usual rate and/or younger than typical age. It has been a proven necessity since at least 1925 (Leta Hollingworth’s study). There is documented acceleration under a different name well before this (back around the time of Socrates!).

Indeed, while I was speaking with a professor of Gifted Education recently, he remarked that his grandmother was provided with acceleration (through grade skipping) in the 1940s.

And yet, some schools (and particularly principals) are not open to allowing bright children to flourish through this evidence-based “allowing” of children to succeed.

I liken this to torture, and I’m not alone in my assessment. Colleague and gifted advocate Bob Davidson (founder of the Davidson Institute and Davidson Academy in Nevada, catering for students in the top 0.1% of IQ) says:

“I mean, that’s criminal to send a kid [who already reads well] to kindergarten…. Somebody should go to jail for that! That is emotional torture!”
– http://www.csun.edu/pubrels/clips/Aug07/08-29-07A.pdf

 

Acceleration has also been an ongoing discussion in both American and Australian politics. It was a core argument in two Australian Senate Committee inquiries, with reports from these finding that:

1988: “The gifted, a vital national resource, need more support at a national level… Many of the gifted will not achieve to their full potential, unless special educational provision is made for them.”

2001: Overwhelming research evidence that appropriate acceleration of gifted students who are socially and emotionally ready usually has highly advantageous outcomes.

 

These additional free resources are worth digesting. I have provided a brief quote from each to help.

Acceleration – Professor Miraca Gross (2016)
Advocacy – Michele Juratowitch (2016)

“Over the last 15 years the attitudes of Australian schools towards acceleration have become much more facilitative than they were in the past. This has occurred, in no small part, because of the accessibility of A Nation Deceived with its practical guidelines on how to go about preparing, implementing and supporting acceleration for individual students.”

Acceleration is critical to the vast majority of academically gifted children… Acceleration is educationally effective, inexpensive, and can help level the playing field…
  

Releasing the brakes (2011)
https://app.box.com/s/iiqe4zn77ulk2c4ce53879ggn91md8nu

Students are supportive of acceleration because of the increased stimulation, engagement, challenge and academic achievement they experience. They feel socially connected…and feel positive about themselves and their school experiences.”
 
Decoding Genius (Acceleration is in episodes three and four)
It raises the question of whether Australian school systems are prepared for geniuses and whether current structures can nurture their intelligence and provide intellectual challenges for them, or if those structures inadvertently crush them.
 

And lastly, my article on acceleration in education.

Facing the right direction
If you’re making a decision on which school to send your child to, get deeply involved. Meet the teachers. Interview the principal and staff at the school. Do they love their life, or are they stuck in a mindset from the Industrial Revolution?