12 Reasons Why Acceleration Isn't Accepted in America
12 Reasons Why Acceleration Isnʼt Accepted in America Reasons Responses1. Teachers lack familiarity with A primary goal of this report, A Nationacceleration and the research evidence Deceived , is to eliminate this barrier.regarding its beneﬁts. This comprehensive two-volume report brings together extensive research on acceleration, and the report is available to all schools at no cost.2. Teachers lack conﬁdence in We respect that all educators makeacceleration as an option for decisions that they believe are in theintervention. best interest of their students. The overwhelming evidence about the many academic and social advantages of acceleration should make educators conﬁdent enough to consider acceleration.3. Acceleration runs counter to personal This report invites introspection andbeliefs. dialogue between educators and parents, asking them to reevaluate their beliefs concerning acceleration.4. Teacherʼs belief that age triumphs The notion that age equates to grade iseverything, even readiness, when it out of tune with what we know aboutcomes to determining grade placement. individual differences. Research reveals that gifted students are more academically and emotionally advanced than their typical age-mates. Therefore, it makes more sense to think about readiness, rather than age, as the main determinant for grade placement.5. Teacherʼs belief that being safe is Doing nothing is not the same as doingbetter than being sorry as doing nothing no harm. Choosing not to accelerate isis not harmful. itself an intervention. The evidence indicates that when childrenʼs academic and social needs are not met, the result is boredom and disengagement with school.
6. Colleges of Education do not teach Abundant research material is available,acceleration, and thus train/prepare yet professors in Colleges of Educationteachers and administrators to make do not present it to future teachers. Thisdecisions regarding acceleration. report will help inform them. We know that faculty respects research and we hope that they will infuse this information into their course content.7. Teacherʼs and parentʼs beliefs that it is Acceleration is allowing a student tobad to push kids and hurry them through move at an appropriate pace. Bytheir childhood. worrying about hurrying, a chance is missed to match the enthusiastic, passionate, and bright child who has the ability to move ahead with the right curriculum. They ignore the bright studentʼs rage to learn.8. Teacherʼs belief and fear that children Social adjustment in a school setting is awho are accelerated will not adjust well complicated issue. Some acceleratedsocially to a new class of children. children do not adjust easily or immediately. Children who have felt out of place with students of their own age may need time to develop social conﬁdence. Although the evidence on social success in accelerated settings is not as clear-cut as the evidence on academic success, it is still much more positive than negative. Acceleration broadens the friendship group. Many gifted children gravitate to older children, so making friends becomes easier.
9. The belief that individual kids are less When educators confuse equity withimportant than equal opportunity for all. sameness, they want all students to have the same curriculum at the same time. This is a violation of equal opportunity. When it comes to acceleration, the majority of children do not need it. In fact, it would be a disadvantage for them both academically and socially. But the children who need it, acceleration is their best chance for an appropriate, and challenging education. We know a lot about assessing ability and creating programming tailored to accommodate individual differences. The cornerstone of education is the ﬂexibility to recognize the needs of the individual child. This ﬂexibility is sometimes lost, however, when political and cultural pressures homogenize the learning needs of individuals and we pretend there are no meaningful learning differences. Closing our eyes to childrenʼs educational differences is neither democratic nor helpful. Every classroom teacher knows that children have distinct academic and social needs. Acceleration is a respectful recognition of individual differences as well as a means for addressing them.10. Teacherʼs belief and fear that This is an important issue. Whatever weaccelerating a child will upset and do in schools should be based on adiminish the self esteem of other respect and concern for all students. Instudents. fact, this level of sensitivity is one of the things that makes America special. However, kids are used to seeing age- peers progress at different rates in many settings such as sports and music. In school, the idea of accelerating one or two children is not likely to negatively affect the class.
11. Teacherʼs belief and fear that their We accelerate students because theywill be gaps in the accelerated childʼs are well ahead of their age-peers in theirknowledge and understanding of academic development and knowledge.concepts. Gifted students are swift learners and any gaps quickly disappear.12. Teacherʼs fear of the possible Good news doesnʼt make the news. Badimplications of acceleration which might news, on the other hand, sells papersinvolve a lack of success that could be and travels fast in communities. Peopledisastrous and thus memorable. will repeat stories or greatly exaggerate the situation about an unsuccessful acceleration, even without ﬁrst-hand knowledge. Researchers acknowledge that acceleration is not perfect and some situations may be less than ideal, but such cases frequently stem from incomplete planning or negative attitudes. We need to respect that even an intervention that is very positive is not fail-safe. A few poor decisions do not negate the importance of considering acceleration as an option. Excellent planning can minimize failures.Colangelo, Nicholas, Susan Assouline, and Miraca Gross. "Schools Hold BackAmericas Brightest Students”, in A Nation Deceived (Iowa City: University of IowaPress, 2004), accessed March 21, 2013, https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.accelerationinstitute.org/Nation_Deceived/ND_v1.pdf&chrome=true