District Policy on Academic Acceleration
In accordance with the belief that all children are entitled to an education commensurate with their particular needs, students who can exceed the grade-level indicators and benchmarks set forth in the standards must be afforded the opportunity and be encouraged to do so.
The Olentangy Board of Education believes that such students often require access to advanced curriculum in order to realize their potential contribution to themselves and society.
All children learn and experience success given time and opportunity, but the degree to which academic content standards are met and the time it takes to reach the standards will vary from student to student. The Olentangy Board of Education believes that all students, including advanced learners, should be challenged and supported to reach their full potential. For many advanced learners, this can best be achieved by affording them access to curriculum, learning environments and instructional interventions more commonly provided to older peers.
What is Acceleration?
Acceleration is an intervention that moves students through an educational program at a more rapid rate than their age-mates. In other words, students will skip over grade level content and may be placed with older peers for instruction. The goal of acceleration is to tailor the level and complexity of the curriculum to the ability and academic readiness of individual children (Colangelo et al., 2004). The Olentangy Acceleration Policy provides students with opportunities for possible accelerated placement through early admission to kindergarten, individual subject acceleration, whole-grade acceleration and early graduation from high school.
What are some indicators that a student should be considered for Acceleration?
Acceleration requires high academic ability. Standardized test scores and teacher observation can provide evidence that a student has mastered the current curriculum and is ready for a faster-paced and more complex curriculum. (Colangelo et al., 2004) Motivation and social-emotional maturity are also important indications that a highly capable student may be a good candidate for acceleration.
Most good candidates for acceleration display some of the following characteristics:
- demonstrates above average general cognitive ability;
- achieves academically in one or more subject areas a grade level or at a higher level than his or her age-mates
- expresses a desire for more challenging instruction;
- is socially mature enough to adapt to an environment serving older students; or
- responds positively to the possibility of acceleration.
Acceleration may not be appropriate for students with some of the following characteristics:
- has an older sibling in the same school and grade level to which the student may be accelerated;
- is sufficiently challenged by the curriculum at his or her current grade level;
- would be significantly less emotionally mature than typical students at the grade level to which he or she may be accelerated; or
- responds negatively to the possibility of acceleration.
Who Determines Whether a Student should be Accelerated?
The decision to accelerate a student is a team decision. The process must include an assessment of student’s readiness and motivation for acceleration and a match between the curriculum and the student's academic needs. It may also include additional data collection and further assessment. Consideration of test scores, teacher observation and input from the parents and student is also required. Please click through the links below for documents pertaining to the district's acceleration process:
What should Parents do if they think their child should be considered for Acceleration?
Begin by discussing your concerns with your child's teacher. Be prepared to provide specific information as to why you believe the level and complexity of your child's instruction should be modified.
A teacher, administrator, gifted education specialist, guidance counselor, school psychologist or a parent or legal guardian of the student may submit referrals for possible accelerated placement to the Gifted Intervention Specialist. A student may refer himself, herself or a peer through a district staff member who has knowledge of the abilities of the student.
Copies of referral forms for evaluation for possible whole-grade acceleration and individual subject acceleration are available to district staff and parents at each school building or click the Acceleration Referral/Request for Evaluation Form.
All referrals for accelerated placement for the 2020-21 school year must be made by Friday, March 12, 2021.
Additional Information about Acceleration
Research and experience clearly indicate that most children will have a more successful school experience if they enter school with children of or near their chronological age. It is recognized through research, however, that there are intellectually and socially mature children who could benefit from early admission to kindergarten/first grade. The purpose of the early entrance process is to use multiple factors to identify children with above average intelligence, accelerated academic skills and well developed social-emotional status for which early entrance would be in their best interest in order to address their needs.
To request consideration for early admission, you’ll need to contact the elementary school in your attendance area and ask to speak to the school psychologist. If you aren’t certain which school your child will attend, review the attendance boundary maps and subdivision listing. If you have any questions, please contact our New Student Welcome Center at (740) 657-4030.
Once an acceleration decision has been made, a parent or legal guardian of the referred student may appeal in writing the decision of the evaluation committee to the local Superintendent within thirty days of being notified of the committee’s decision. The Superintendent shall review the appeal and notify the parent or legal guardian who filed the appeal of his or her final decision within thirty days of receiving the appeal. The Superintendent’s decision shall be final. However, the student may be referred and evaluated again at the next available opportunity if he or she is again referred for evaluation by an individual eligible to make referrals as described in this policy.
If you still have unanswered questions, please contact the Gifted Intervention Specialist at your child's school.