2017-02-26

Kanske en bra idé att flytta upp en årskurs nu, mitt i terminen?

Uppflytt är jättebra för många högt begåvade elever. För extremt begåvade elever verkar det nästan vara en nödvändighet. Mellan 2 och 5 års uppflytt har visat goda resultat, bland annat i Australien, för de allra högst begåvade.

Eftersom svenska skolan kombinerar enorma mängder repetition, en vilja att vänta in hela klassen och en dålig kunskap om att differentiera, är min bedömning att uppflytt kommer att vara ett oerhört viktigt verktyg för begåvade och snabblärda elever i Sverige under överskådlig tid.

Alla ni som har 6-åringar som lidit sig igenom månaderna i förskoleklassen. Alla ni som har 8-åringar eller 11-åringar eller whatever, som är på väg att tappa orken och lusten. Om skolan är motvillig att flytta upp, kanske det är lättare att få igenom en uppflytt NU, mitt i terminen. I början av terminer är det så mycket annat att tänka på ...

Om 6-åringen får gå 2–3 månader i ettan så räcker det troligen för att kunna gå med den nya klassen till tvåan efter sommaren.

Självklart är det grundläggande att den mottagande läraren är positivt inställd till barnet, och är redo och har resurs och ork att ge det stöd som kommer att behövas!

En uppflytt kan ge så mycket. Äldre barn är mer toleranta än jämnåriga för att människor är olika. Äldre barn ger en större chans att någon har samma nivå och tänkesätt i favoritämnena.

Och du vet väl om att uppflytt är BRA för det sociala, enligt all sammanställd forskning? Det är INTE dåligt för det sociala. Nya Zealands utbildningsdepartement skriver så här: "It is hard to find even a single research study showing acceleration to be harmful; on the contrary almost all studies demonstrate the positive academic, as well as social and emotional, effects of acceleration for gifted students."

Dessutom är det oerhört mycket lättare för alla lärare att anpassa lite neråt, än mycket uppåt. Det är mycket lättare att hjälpa ett barn ifatt, som ligger lite efter, än att ta fram svårare uppgifter varenda dag, varenda timme, vilket eleven skulle behöva i åldersgruppen.

Nedan har jag klippt in från

  • Nya Zealands utbildningsdepartements webbplats för skolor om begåvade elever
  • en forskningsgenomgång av forskningen om effekterna av acceleration för högt begåvade elever, från boken Critical issues and practices in gifted education – what the research says, som används vid lärarutbildningen vid Johns Hopkins University
  • ett australiskt fortbildningsmaterial för lärare, om acceleration.





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Från Nya Zealand:


Research evidence for acceleration


There is strong research evidence supporting the strategy of acceleration for gifted students. Despite this the strategy is still relatively rarely used by schools. A greater awareness of the research around acceleration for gifted students might be what is needed to change this.

A Nation Deceived remains the seminal work on acceleration. Produced in 2004, it pulls together research from the preceding 50 years to provide a succinct analysis of acceleration, including tackling the misconceptions about acceleration and dispelling their impact through research, examples of effective practice, and real-life stories of students. The report notes some of the excuses given for not accelerating a student, and provides answers and research backed evidence to counter these. In particular it notes (p2):
Acceleration is the most effective curriculum intervention for gifted children.
For bright students, acceleration has long-term beneficial effects, both academically and socially.
Acceleration is a virtually cost-free intervention.
Gifted children tend to be socially and emotionally more mature than their age-mates.
For many bright students, acceleration provides a better personal maturity match with classmates.
When bright students are presented with curriculum developed for age-peers, they can become bored and unhappy and get turned off from learning.
Testing, especially above-level testing (using tests developed for older students), is highly effective in identifying students who would benefit from acceleration.
Radical acceleration (acceleration by two or more years) is effective academically and socially for highly gifted students.
Many educators have been largely negative about the practice of acceleration, despite abundant research evidence for its success and viability.
It is important for parents to be fully involved in the decision-making process about their child’s acceleration.
The few problems that have been experienced with acceleration have stemmed primarily from incomplete or poor planning.
Educational equity does not mean educational sameness. Equity respects individual differences in readiness to learn and recognizes the value of each student.
The key question for educators is not whether to accelerate a gifted learner but rather how.

Hattie compiled a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses, consisting of over 50,000 studies relating to educational achievement. He presented a league table consisting of contributions by the student, home, teacher, teaching approaches, school and curricula as defined by their effect-size, that is, the difference each contribution made to educational achievement, listing them in order of effectiveness. The meta-analyses identified acceleration, with an effect-size of .88, as the fifth highest contribution to student achievement, in a table of 138 factors.

This equates to almost two years advancement in achievement, which can be seen when students repeatedly rise to the top of the classes in the year ahead, when they are accelerated. The increase in their learning is visible. The league table showed that it is important to not only examine what leads to successful learning, but to see what works better than other strategies/interventions/ contributions. It is hard to find even a single research study showing acceleration to be harmful; on the contrary almost all studies demonstrate the positive academic, as well as social and emotional, effects of acceleration for gifted students.



Social and emotional benefits


The social and emotional concerns tend to be the most quoted objections in the debate about accelerating gifted students. The objections however are based on myth and ‘armchair dogma’ rather than evidence-based research. Additionally there is evidence, in published studies, of significant harm being caused to gifted students who were denied acceleration and were retained in the lock-step age-grade system, which caused boredom and the risk of early exit from school. Having like-minded friends is pivotal to successful outcomes. Repeatedly it is found that gifted students prefer to socialise with older students. Therefore acceleration provides not only academic fulfilment, but also the social and emotional benefits of having a peer group with whom they can relate.



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International Guidelines on Suitability for Accelerated Progression

Adapted from Feldhusen, J. F., Proctor, T. B. & Black, K. N. (1986). Guidelines for grade advancement of precocious  hildren, Roeper Review, 9 (1), 25-27.
At: www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/ manuals/pdf_doc/accelerated_guide.pdf (pp. 37-38]


Some of the guidelines used internationally to assist school Principals in determining gifted

students’ suitability for accelerated progression include the following:

1. It is not necessary for every gifted student to be psychometrically tested. However, in the

case of students who are being considered for accelerated progression, there should be a

comprehensive psychological assessment of their intellectual functioning, academic skill

levels
and social-emotional adjustment by a trained psychologist.

2. Academically, the student should demonstrate skill levels above the average of the class

they desire to enter.

3. Socially and emotionally, the student should be free of any serious adjustment problems.

Principals should be aware, however, that in some gifted students social or emotional

diffi culties may have been caused by inappropriately low grade placement
. In such cases

the situation may be alleviated by accelerated progression.

4. The student should be in good physical health. The student’s size, however, should be

considered only to the extent that competitive sport may be viewed as important in later

years.

5. It is important that the student should not feel unduly pressured by parents/guardians. The

student themselves should be eager to move ahead.

6. The receiving teacher must have positive attitudes towards the grade advancement and

must be willing to help the student adjust to the new situation
.

7. Judgements about the student’s social and emotional maturity should include input from

the student’s parents/carers and the psychologist. Gifted students are sometimes rejected

by their classmates. It is important that teachers do not confuse the absence of close peer

relationships with social immaturity.

8. Ideally, grade advancement should occur at natural transition points, such as the beginning

of the school year. However, mid-year advancement may sometimes be desirable where the

student’s prior teacher and receiving teacher may more easily confer about how best to help

the student make a smooth transition.

9. All cases of accelerated progression should be arranged on a trial basis of at least six weeks.

The student should be aware that if the trial period is not a success, they will return to the

original grade placement. It is important that in such a circumstance the student should not

be made to feel that they have ‘failed’.

10. Care should be exercised not to build up excessive expectations from grade advancement.

A small minority of gifted students are so far advanced in their intellectual or academic

development that one year of accelerated progression may still leave them bored at

school. For such students further advancement may be advisable at a later period in their

schooling.

11. Decisions regarding accelerated progression should be based on facts rather than myths.

The research literature on acceleration reveals that accelerated progression benefi ts the

gifted student both academically and socially. Conversely, failure to advance a highly gifted

student may result in poor study habits, apathy, lack of motivation and maladjustment.


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Från GERRICs fortbildningsmaterial, Australiska utbildningsmyndigheten i NSW, module 6 primary school:


Isn’t acceleration hot-housing and therefore stressful?


No. It is important to realise that acceleration does not mean that gifted students are being made

to speed up and learn faster than they are already willing to, but rather that schools are allowing

students to progress at something closer to their natural or preferred rate of learning.

Holding back gifted students is much more likely to be stressful for them, or harmful in other

ways (such as teaching them to ‘coast’ along, which may deny them the opportunity to learn to

cope with intellectual challenges).




Acceleration means we have taken off the brakes!


David Elkind, well-known for his book, The hurried child, makes this point when he states:

‘Promotion of intellectually gifted children is simply another way of attempting to

match the curriculum to the child’s abilities, not to accelerate those abilities.

What promotion does for intellectually gifted children is to make a better fi t

between the child’s level of development and the curriculum.’ (Elkind, in Smutny,

Veenker & Veenker, 1989, p.105.)

That is, Elkind acknowledges the legitimacy of acceleration as a strategy for the gifted.

As was highlighted in Module 1, a characteristic of gifted students is their ability to ‘reason at a

level usually found in a student some years older’, so acceleration is a logical way of addressing

this.




What does the evidence tell us?


The research evidence on the effectiveness of acceleration is very positive. For example,

contrary to many people’s expectation, the evidence shows that acceleration does not damage

students socially or emotionally
.

In fact, grade skipping has been found to aid social relations (as well as academic achievement),

while concurrent enrolment has been found to enhance psychological adjustment.

Most forms of acceleration have been found to produce substantial academic benefi ts, too, as

Karen Rogers (2002) reports:

• Gifted early entrants to school were found to be on average six months ahead in their

achievement, compared to their age peers, while there were also slight gains in social

skills and self-esteem.

• Studies of single-subject acceleration have found that it produced academic gains

of about three-fi fths of a year’s growth. Telescoping was found to have similarly large

positive effects.

• For concurrent enrolment the academic gains were small but positive.

• The research on grade skipping has produced very positive fi ndings, with over one additional

year’s academic achievement resulting, ‘and the students performed at least as well as

their older-aged gifted peers in the new grade level’.




The Senate Committee (2001, p. xiv) concluded that:


‘There is overwhelming research evidence that appropriate acceleration of gifted

students who are socially and emotionally ready usually has highly advantageous

outcomes.’




But doesn’t it cause social adjustment problems?


On the contrary, the somewhat surprising fi nding (given teachers’, and some parents’, concerns

about this matter) is that grade-skipping tends to produce a strong improvement in social

adjustment (along with a small gain in self-esteem). As Rogers (2002, p. 168) comments:

‘It is noteworthy that when these children do move to the higher grade, they are,

in fact, more likely to make friends, perhaps because the older children may have

similar interests or are slightly more socially mature.’



A testimonial from the large-scale Richardson study supports this positive conclusion:

‘Our fi les are full of stories about youngsters, named or unnamed, happily studying

two, three, even four years ahead of their age-mates. In general, the social

adjustment of these precocious youngsters is improved by placing them with

their intellectual peers rather than their age-mates’ (Daniel, 1989, pp. 50-51).



However ....




While the research evidence shows that acceleration usually has positive consequences for

gifted students, it is not a ‘magic bullet’ that cures all academic and social problems.

Acceleration alone may not be enough to eliminate a student’s existing social diffi culties (in the

words of one student: ‘Acceleration didn’t make me a social misfi t. I was one already!’), so social

skills may need to be addressed separately.

Also, a single grade skip is unlikely to be sufficient to satisfy the academic needs of a highly-to-profoundly gifted student.

There are documented cases where acceleration did not produce the positive outcomes usually

found, but in most of these a large part of the failure may be attributed to the inappropriate ways

in which the acceleration process was managed. Hence:

acceleration needs to be seen as an ongoing process, not just a placement

decision, so one that requires careful planning and implementation.

Fortunately, very practical guidance is available to enable teachers to increase the likelihood of

success.




Guidelines for deciding whether and how to accelerate


Well established guidelines exist to help teachers decide whether acceleration may be an

appropriate way to meet the needs of any gifted student and, if so, how best to implement it.


Note that these are guidelines, not imperatives. That is, they need not all be fully satisfi ed

before you accelerate a student. For example, if a ‘trained psychologist’ (#1) is not readily

accessible, as in some rural or isolated communities or where the cost is prohibitive,

acceleration should still be considered, using the other evidence available.

• Every decision about whether and how to accelerate a particular student should be able

to be justifi ed by referring to the evidence upon which it is based. Hence, judgements

about both academic and social-emotional readiness must involve the collection of hard

evidence, from a variety of sources, not just the interpretation of a single class teacher, or

member of the school executive, however well intentioned. This is also why the second

point made in guideline #3 is very important.



Increasing the likelihood of success


Since acceleration is best seen as a process, not merely a placement decision, its chances of

success will be enhanced if the following issues are addressed:

Choice of receiving teacher is crucial.

The teacher into whose class the accelerated student will move (part-time or full-time) should

be positive about the decision and willing to assess the trial period on its merits. Ideally, the

receiving teacher will welcome the move, will be knowledgeable about gifted students and their

needs, and will be part of the planning process prior to the change of placement.

Nevertheless, it is undesirable that an otherwise positive case for

acceleration be thwarted by the lack of a willing receiving teacher, so

Principals are encouraged to consider what professional development or

other support they may provide to enable a potential receiving teacher to

be confi dent about assuming the role.

Note that the Tasmanian Department of Education’s version of these guidelines changes #6

to state: ‘The receiving teacher must have access to professional development, if needed, to

maximise his/her capacity to provide appropriately for the student’ (Department of Education,

Tasmania, 2002, p. 3).



The student to be accelerated should be prepared for the change.


This may take the form of a trusted person at the school, possibly the student’s current classroom

teacher, explaining how the move will be implemented and inviting the student to discuss any

queries and raise any worries - and then inviting the student to suggest how these might best be

dealt with, a form of ‘social rehearsal’. Consider the following example:

Teacher: Can you think of anything that might worry you about the move?

Student: What will I say when the other kids ask me why I have moved up a class?

Teacher: What do you suggest?

Student: I could say it is because the work I was doing was too easy for me.

Teacher: Yes, that’s a good response. Or you could just say that it was the

teachers’ idea - for students know that teachers do all sorts of ‘strange’ things,

without explaining why.

If you are fi lling this pastoral care role note that the student may also be worried that the work in

the higher grade will be too hard, or that the students in the new class won’t be friendly, among

other things.




Diagnose and address any gaps in the student’s knowledge or skills

(academic or social).

It is best to do this before the acceleration placement begins, or as soon afterwards as possible

- ie within the six-week trial period.

Examples of such gaps that have been found in Australian research on acceleration (Bailey,

1997) include:

• underdeveloped time management skills (especially when grade skipping from primary

to secondary school),

• minor gaps in maths knowledge, and

• moving from print script to cursive writing.

Where appropriate (eg if the students involved deem it acceptable), peer tutoring may be

organised as a means of addressing these, though with close teacher guidance.

Recognise that curriculum differentiation will also be required, as well as a

change of placement.

The acceleration will only partly address the gifted student’s faster pace of learning, so curriculum

compacting should also be considered.

Further modifi cations will be desirable - to the content, process and product (as we discussed in

Module 5) - to address other characteristics and needs of gifted students.

Provide ongoing support and monitoring.

It is important that the school provide ongoing support, to accelerated students and to any

teacher involved with them, to ensure that issues that arise during and beyond the trial period

are dealt with promptly and constructively.

For example, the Principal might allocate some time allowance to the receiving teacher and/or

the school’s G&T Coordinator, to ensure that they provide regular support as needed and keep

written records of the accelerated student’s progress.



Carefully planned acceleration works, for appropriately chosen students in well-prepared settings.




If these guidelines are followed you should fi nd that you, and your students, experience the

positive outcomes that many others have already had with acceleration.

It certainly should be seen as a highly appropriate strategy for the gifted. We need to move

beyond the less well-informed past when, according to Southern and Jones (1992, p. 35):




‘All participants in the decisions seem to have

reservations about acceleration. Like surgery, it

is viewed as a treatment of last resort.’



Miraca Gross (1999) reports the words of a highly gifted 18-year-old, Elizabeth, who:

‘is certain that if she had not been permitted to accelerate, she would have retreated into a secret place within herself, observing life being enacted, as it were, on a stage, but playing little part in it herself. Acceleration has given her friends, self-confidence and self-acceptance.’


If you are overly cautious about acceleration, because you worry that you might make

the wrong decision, remember that failing to accelerate a gifted student (such as

Elizabeth) may be the mistake to avoid.




References


Assouline, S. G., Colangelo, N., Lupkowski-Shoplik, A. E., & Lipscomb, J. (1999). The Iowa Acceleration Scale manual.

Scottsdale, AZ: Gifted Psychology Press.

Bailey, S. (1997) ‘Doing acceleration’: Fast but not loose. In J. Chan, R. Li, & J. Spinks (Eds) Maximizing potential:

Lengthening and strengthening our stride (pp. 60-65). Hong Kong: The University of Hong Kong, Social Sciences

Research Centre.

Bailey, S. (1996). Networking: Birds of a feather work together. In A. Jacob & G. Barnsley (Eds), Gifted children: The

challenge continues (pp. 257-266). Sydney: NSWAGTC.

Benbow, C. P. (1998). Grouping intellectually advanced students for instruction. In J. VanTassel-Baska (Ed.) Excellence

in educating gifted & talented learners (3rd ed.) (pp. 261-278). Denver, CO: Love.

Betts, G. T. & Neihart, M. (1988). Profi les of the gifted and talented. Gifted Child Quarterly, 32 (2), 248-253.

Daniel, N. (1989). Out of the Richardson Study: A look at fl exible pacing. The Gifted Child Today, 12 (5), 48-52.

Davis, G. A. & Rimm, S. B. (2004). Education of the gifted and talented (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education.

Denton, C. & Postlethwaite, K. (1985). Able children. Windsor: NFER-Nelson.

Department of Education, Tasmania (2002). Guidelines for accelerated progression for students who are gifted. [6pp.] At:

http://www.education.tas.gov.au/ocll/elsupport/giftededucation/accelerationguide. doc Accessed: 30/9/04.

Elkind, D. (1988). The hurried child. Reading: Addison-Wesley.

Gross, M. U. M. (1999). From ‘the saddest sound’ to the D Major chord: The gift of accelerated progression. Paper

presented at the 3rd Biennial Australasian International Conference on the Education of Gifted Students, Melbourne,

15 August.

Heinbokel, A. (1997). Acceleration through grade skipping in Germany. High Ability Studies, 8 (1), 61-77.

McCluskey, K. W. & Mays, A. M. (2003). Mentoring for talent development. Sioux Falls, SD: Reclaiming Youth

International.

McCluskey, K., O’Hagan, S., Baker, P. & Richard, S. (2000). Nurturing the talents of Aboriginal Canadian youth. TalentEd,

18 (4), 2-9.

Merrotsy, P. (2003). Acceleration: Two case studies of access to tertiary courses while still at school. TalentEd, 21 (2),

10-24.

Pears, G. (1991). Personal communication.

Rogers, K. B. (1993). Grouping the gifted and talented: Questions and answers, Roeper Review, 16 (1), 8-12.

Rogers, K. B. (2002). Re-forming gifted education. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press.

Senate Employment, Workplace Relations, Small Business and Education References Committee (2001). The education

of gifted children. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.

Smutny, J. F., Veenker, K., & Veenker, S. (1989). Your gifted child. New York: Facts on File.

Southern, W. T. & Jones, E. D. (1992). The real problems with academic acceleration. The Gifted Child Today, 15 (2),

34-38.

Start, K. B. (1989). The tyranny of age. Paper presented at the 8th World Conference on Gifted and Talented Children,



Sydney, 3-7 July.




Further Reading


Gross, M. U. M. (1997). To group or not to group: Is that the question? Gifted, 98, 25-29.

[Argues that grouping decisions have too often been based on administrative convenience ‘or a concern for “equity”

which confuses equal opportunity with equal outcomes’ (p. 29) and analyses in detail the evidence on ability

grouping.]

Merrotsy, P. (2003). Acceleration: Two case studies of access to tertiary courses while still at school. TalentEd, 21 (2),

10-24.

[Discusses the practicalities of, and the two students’ views on, acceleration at ‘a small, rural, relatively isolated high

school in an economically depressed area’.]

Rogers, K. B. (2002). Re-forming gifted education. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press.

[See Chapter 7, on grouping, and Chapters 5 & 6, on acceleration.]

Rogers, K. R. (1994). What research tells us ... Ability grouping and gifted students. Kensington: University of NSW.

[A one-hour audiotape, providing a succinct summary of the evidence on the effects of ability grouping.]

Websites

A full copy of the NSW Board of Studies document on acceleration.

www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/manuals/pdf_doc/accelerated_guide.pdf
A copy of Miraca Gross’s keynote address, ‘From “the saddest sound” to the D Major chord: The gift of accelerated

progression’, presented at the 3rd Biennial Australasian International Conference on the Education of Gifted Students,

Melbourne, 1999, which includes many examples of Australian students who have been accelerated.

www.eddept.wa.edu.au/gifttal/EAGER/MiracaGross.html
Provides online access to several informative articles on particular forms of grouping.

www.hoagiesgifted.org/grouping.htm

A copy of the 2004 report on acceleration, A nation deceived: How schools hold back America’s brightest students,

which provides a detailed synthesis of the major research on acceleration.

www.nationdeceived.org

A copy of Pam Matters’ 1998 AAEGT conference paper on mentoring, based on her practical experiences in Victoria.



www.tased.edu.au/tasonline/tag/aaegt7/matters.htm


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