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Accelerating Gifted Students in the Classroom

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 9/11/2012

The acceleration of gifted students is supposed to be done to the benefit of the child. Learn about some of the ways to accelerate a gifted student and the details to consider before making that choice.

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    Gifted Students as Individuals

    Gifted students may show their talents in different ways. The way that they show their skills will help to determine some of the appropriate methods of acceleration of gifted students that may apply to that student in particular. While some students finish their work early and are always scoring high on their tests, others may actually be bored and get poor grades because they don't have the patience to deal with information they already know. Either way, the student should be consulted about what they feel more comfortable with. This may be best done by a guidance counselor or someone who is fairly close to the student. In this manner, the goals and trials of the student can be weighed before a decision is made.

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    Put the Interests of the Student First

    The acceleration of gifted students needs to be planned around the needs of the student. It needs to be said that the needs of the school, including state testing, should not be considered when it comes to making decisions about how to properly accelerate gifted students. That means that if it benefits the student to move ahead a grade level, but does not benefit the school, the student should be moved ahead. This is just an example and does not mean that every gifted student should be moved to higher grade level.

    There are a variety of options for accelerating gifted students. Some of them are listed below.

    Move to a higher grade level: A student who has the ability to succeed in a higher grade level might be considered for such an action. The student will then have the ability to graduate earlier than planned and may be more challenged and productive in a higher grade level. Social concerns should be addressed before this happens. Students may not be comfortable with the social atmosphere of a higher grade level and may wish to remain in their current class. If this is the case, then other measures should be taken to ensure the academic success of this gifted student.

    Enroll in college courses: Depending on your school district, enrolling the student in college courses may be an option. Students may need to take placement tests to verify that they are able to handle the work. This work may present just the challenge that the student needs. It also prepares them to enroll in college at a later date with some of the course work out of the way. In this way the student can stay with their own age level but can have an academic challenge.

    Tutor other students: Sometimes gifted students don't even want to be accelerated, but they do want to be challenged. It might be a good idea to suggest that these students tutor other students who may be struggling. This serves two purpose. The student gets to further ingrain their own knowledge while helping others, and may eventually want to be accelerated so that they can move forward from material that they are well versed in.