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Acceleration and Gifted Children

Updated: Feb 17

Acceleration is an intervention that allows a gifted child to progress through an educational programme at a faster than usual rate or younger than typical age. It can provide gifted children with the opportunity to learn at a pace that is more naturally suited to their rate of learning.

Gilfted child acceleration

There are different forms of acceleration including:

  • Subject acceleration: this involves providing a child with the work of a higher grade level for a particular subject. This can occur by allowing them to attend a higher grade classroom for that subject or by providing a child with higher grade material within his or her own classroom.

  • Grade acceleration: this is where a child is promoted to a grade above their current level

  • Early entrance to school: this is where a child begins their schooling, such as Kindergarten, at a younger age than normal

  • Grade telescoping: this involves allowing a child to work through the curriculum of two or more grades in one academic year

Acceleration is considered one of the most effective educational interventions available to gifted students (Rogers, 2007). Research has demonstrated that children can benefit academically, socially and emotionally from acceleration (Neihart, 2007; Assouline et al 2015, Colangelo et al 2014). It is important that a range of factors are considered when evaluating if acceleration is suitable for a child. Such factors include a child’s intellectual ability, academic achievement and aptitude. Additional considerations include developmental factors and the child’s interpersonal skills. Existing educational policies and school processes that are in place will need to be considered. Collaboration between the school, parents and the student is also essential in the decision-making process.

Butterfly Psychology for Kids can conduct comprehensive educational and intellectual assessments to provide information to assist parents and schools if they are considering acceleration as an option for a child. As part of this assessment, a child’s intellectual ability is examined including verbal and nonverbal intelligence, working memory and processing speed. An assessment of academic achievement is also conducted to examine reading, written language, mathematics and oral language. The educational assessment provides information on a child’s academic achievement compared to same-aged children and also compared to children in the same year level. Aptitude can also be measured which compares a child’s academic performance above grade level to determine suitability for acceleration.

For further information please click here

Adapted from: Acceleration: Information Sheet for Educators.


Assouline, S. et al. (2015). A nation empowered: Evidence trumps the excuses holding back America’s brightest students

Colangelo, N. et al. (2004). A nation deceived: How schools hold back America's brightest students

Neihart, M. (2007). The socioaffective impact of acceleration and ability grouping: Recommendations for best practice.

Rogers, K. (2007). Lessons learned about educating the gifted and talented: A synthesis of the research on educational practice.

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