IGA - Grade Level Acceleration

(Much of the information for this policy has been taken from the “Guidelines for Developing an Academic Acceleration Policy” published in November of 2009 by the Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration.)

As part of its educational program, the Kearsarge Regional School District serves a broad continuum of learners. Our mission is to “provide an equitable and challenging educational opportunity for each learner.” Occasionally, in order to customize the educational experience for some students, it becomes necessary to accelerate their learning opportunities. This policy was developed to provide a consistent set of procedures to follow when making referrals, recommendations, and decisions about grade-level acceleration. 

Please note that this policy relates solely to decisions regarding the acceleration of students already matriculated at KRSD. Decisions about early entrance to kindergarten should follow the Age of Entrance policy.

Operating Principles for Grade-Based Acceleration

  1. Accelerated students should be expected to achieve, relative to their new grade peers, at a high level that is generally comparable to their performance in the previous grade. Such students are typically among the top 10% in a class, and they should be expected to remain in the top 10% throughout their academic careers (Assouline, et al, 2009).
  2. Acceleration should either have a positive impact on social and behavioral adjustment or maintain the student’s same level of (appropriate) social and behavioral adjustment. Acceleration should not negatively impact social and behavioral adjustment.
  3. Recommendations and decisions about grade-level acceleration will be based upon a thorough, team-based review of the factors relevant to acceleration (e.g. age, interpersonal skills, emotional development, physical development, parental support, educational support, student interest...).
  4. Consideration for grade-level acceleration according to this policy is an initial step and does not dictate the outcome.

Referral and Screening

Students being considered for grade-level acceleration must be referred to the building administrator. Teachers, parents, the student, and/or other school personnel who have appropriate knowledge of the student can make referrals. Referrals should include one of more of the following pieces of evidence:

  • Advanced achievement and/or ability (98th percentile or above on standardized test and/or intelligence test)
  • Performance well above same-age peers in areas such as problem solving, writing, vocabulary, math, science, and/or the arts
  • References (at least two) from people with direct knowledge of the student describing high levels of precocity

Upon receipt of a referral and with substantive evidence for consideration of acceleration, the building administrator will convene a Child Study Team to include the building administrator, parents or guardians, guidance counselor, current teacher, enrichment coordinator, an above-grade-level teacher, and other education professionals deemed necessary for a particular student’s case (e.g., occupational therapist or psychologist).

The Child Study Team should begin by reviewing the available student information and making a determination of the next step in the process. Possible steps might include:

  • Continued monitoring of student performance
  • Continued implementation/revision of classroom modifications
  • Student observation by other educational professionals
  • Specific information gathering
  • Systematic assessment for grade-level acceleration

At this point, if developmentally appropriate, the student being considered for acceleration is given an explanation of the process. If, after a clear explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of acceleration, the student/family expresses a lack of desire to proceed, the process should be discontinued.

Grade level acceleration is one way to provide a challenging and appropriate curriculum for a gifted student. Other practices to consider include:

  • Cluster grouping
  • Curriculum compacting
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Direct instruction
  • Mentors
  • Independent study
  • Individual Action Plan

Assessment and Decision-Making

Under the guidance and direction of the Enrichment Coordinator, the student will be assessed using the Iowa Acceleration Scale, third edition (IAS-3). The Iowa Acceleration Scale is a guidance tool that incorporates input from parents, teachers, and the student and is a helpful instrument in guiding the decision-making process. As a result of the decision to move forward with the use of the Iowa Acceleration Scale, further assessments may need to be completed to provide the required data necessary to complete the decision-making process. The Building Administrator and Child Study Team will make every effort to ensure this process moves expeditiously.

Once the necessary data is compiled, a meeting of the Child Study Team will be reconvened for the purpose of sharing the information and for making a recommendation on acceleration. This recommendation will be made in reference to the guidelines suggested by the Iowa Acceleration Scale. The Child Study Team will issue a written statement of the recommendation and rationale. A copy of the written statement will be made available to the parents and a copy will be placed into the student’s cumulative record folder.

The Child Study Team’s recommendation for acceleration will be given to the district Superintendent for final approval.


Once approval for grade-level acceleration has been obtained, the Child Study Team should establish a timeline for the transition process and identify a KRSD team member to oversee its implementation.


First Reading: December 6, 2012

Second Reading: December 6, 2012

Date Adopted: December 6, 2012

Revision Dates: N/A

Last Review Date:  December 6, 2012