With a keen focus on the socioaffective impact of acceleration supports, Neihart (2007) recommended the following best practices in support of highly able learners:
Acceleration should be routine for highly gifted children. All highly gifted children should be evaluated for grade skipping, in particular.
Acceleration options should be available for capable students. No school district or school administrator should have a policy that prohibits accelerative options for students, including grade skipping.
All school districts should have written policies and procedures in place to ensure that acceleration options are available in all schools and to guide parents and teachers in the steps to follow for referral and evaluation of students.
Students who are being considered for acceleration should be screened for social readiness, emotional maturity, and motivation for acceleration. A tool, such as the Iowa Acceleration Scale, may help to select candidates for acceleration.
When possible, students who are grade skipping or making an early entrance to college should do so as part of a cohort. There appear to be benefits to cohort acceleration that are more difficult to replicate when students go it alone. (p. 336)
Early entrance to college, sometimes called early admission or early enrollment, is the practice of allowing high school students to be accelerated into college, one or more years before the traditional age of college entrance, and without obtaining a high school diploma. In some cases this is done individually. Often, however, it is done as part of a cohort acceleration program, in which many such students are accelerated into college together at the same time. These programs are usually targeted to gifted students, and may provide their students with a social support network and help in dealing with the adjustment.
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