This information was produced by the staff of the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development (B-BC) at the University of Iowa ( The resources and information listed here are for informational purposes; there is no direct or implied endorsement by the B-BC. Services provided by the B-BC include programs for academically talented K-12 and college students, professional development for teachers, the Assessment and Counseling Clinic, the Acceleration Institute (, and graduate programs and research in gifted education.

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A Quick Overview of Academic Acceleration: For Policymakers and Administrators

Acceleration is an academic intervention that moves students through an educational program at a rate faster or at an age that is younger than typical. It is about creating a better match between the readiness and motivation of a student and the level and pace of instruction.

Some Types of Acceleration

  • Early Admission to Kindergarten and/or First Grade
  • Grade-Skipping
  • Subject-Matter Acceleration
  • Curriculum Compacting
  • Telescoping Curriculum
  • Correspondence Courses
  • Advanced Placement Courses
  • Concurrent/Dual Enrollment

Important Points

  1. When we decide not to accelerate a student because it is the "safe" thing to do, we are eliminating an educational opportunity for that student. Doing nothing is not the same as "do no harm."
  2. Tools are available to help determine which students will benefit from acceleration. Closing our eyes to children's educational differences is neither democratic nor helpful.
  3. Evidence indicates that when children's academic and social needs are not met, the result is boredom and disengagement from school.
  4. Accelerating selected students can save years of loneliness and social isolation for students who don't "fit in" with age mates and long to have friends who share similar interests.
  5. Detailed information is available that describes how to select academically talented students who would benefit from acceleration.
  6. A significant body of research exists indicating that academically talented students thrive when give the opportunity to accelerate their learning and their educational aspirations and achievements increase.
  7. Specific information is available explaining how to write an educational policy that supports academic acceleration.

We hope America's educators will choose not to hold back our brightest students.