As both a teacher and administrator, I often heard from parents whose children were exceptionally good at math. “My daughter already knows how to multiply four-digit numbers, so third grade math is too easy for her. She needs to be accelerated.”
There’s lots of research to support acceleration as a strategy for gifted learners. The Acceleration Institute, part of the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa, recently produced a report entitled “A Nation Empowered” which details the enormous benefits to accelerating a student when he or she is performing well above grade level.
Researcher Jonathan Wei of Duke University says, “All students deserve to learn something new each day.” In math, the obvious way to learn something new is to accelerate the instruction, letting the student go on to the next topic or grade level. But “learn something new” is not the same as “learn the next thing on the district’s scope and sequence.”