A University of Iowa study finds accelerating gifted students works well, but too many schools still refuse to move kids up. Researchers at the U-of-I’s Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development analyzed 50 years of data on student acceleration, things like grade-skipping, advanced placement and early admission to school or college. Center director Nicholas Colangelo urges more teachers and parents to get involved and consider giving young minds more challenges. Colangelo says “Acceleration is the single best overall intervention on behalf of high-ability kids and it works. It works not only in terms of academic achievement, it works in terms of social adjustment.” The problem is, the vast majority of schools hesitate to accelerate a child as they either don’t know about the research or don’t believe it. Colangelo says there’s an assumption by schools that “doing nothing means no harm” as far as moving a student up, but he says that assumption is wrong. He says students need to be challenged, adding, “When students who are ready for something much more complex don’t get that, you are then enhancing the possibility that student will become bored, disengaged from school.” Colangelo says there are many ways to gauge whether a student should be accelerated. Kids who score very high on a standardized test or in a talent search may be candidates, as are children who are recognized by teachers as gifted in a certain area. The full study, called “A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students,” is on the Internet at “www.uiowa.edu/~belinctr” or at “nationdeceived.org”.
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