Acceleration An RUSD GATE Best Practices Tune-Up
What is Acceleration? Acceleration should refer to the rapid rate of a child’s cognitive development, not the education intervention provided. What we provide in the name of acceleration is appropriate services (strategies) and curriculum at a level commensurate with the gifted child’s demonstrated readiness and need. Van-Tassel-Baska (1992)
Why Differentiate Through Acceleration? • Research shows that no other arrangement for gifted children works as well as acceleration. • Acceleration is far more effective in raising student achievement than the most successful school reform models. • A review of 380 studies revealed that almost all forms of acceleration result in growth and achievement. (Templeton National Report on Acceleration, 2004)
Strategies Include: • Lesson Pacing • Most Difficult First • Compacting • Tiering
All Strategies Begin with Pre-testing Pre-testing is essential to establishing a student’s current skill level and developing achieved outcomes. Use resources available within your program • Unit and chapter tests • Quick checks/quick writes • Worksheets • KWL
Build pre-testing into your existing lessons You should always ask,“What does the student already know?”
Lesson Pacing Student completes the same assignment as others, but at their own, much faster pace. • Pre-testing may show many gaps indicating the student needs to participate in the general lesson or activity. • Despite these initial gaps the gifted student will often grasp the concept more quickly than others and be ready to move ahead with independent practice while others are still being guided through the lesson. • Develop a system that allows the student to move ahead through the lesson without disturbing others.
Most Difficult First This can be a form of pre-testing or a variation on lesson pacing. It is a first step towards more formal compacting. • Determine which items represent the most difficult examples of the entire task. These might appear sequentially, near the end or from various sections of the assignment. (Five are usually a reasonable number) • Label the items as MDF. • Students who attempt MDF and answer all questions correctly do not have to complete the rest of the assignment.
Compacting Curriculum for a gifted student should be compacted in those areas that represent the student’s strengths. The compacting process has three basic phases: • Determine goals/objectives of regular curriculum • Assess student for mastery of these objectives • Substitute more appropriate (challenging) options
Use a Compactor • The compactor is a record of assessed strengths and alternate activities. • Activities should build on a student’s strengths. • Activities can accelerate, extend or enrich. (How would you label each of the alternative activities listed below in the sample compactor?)
How are alternative activities selected? Remember, the challenge for teachers is to provide appropriate curriculum and services at a level commensurate with the student’s demonstrated readiness and need. This could include pacing as far and as fast as they want to go. Or It can be to extend work to broaden the understanding of concepts and materials.
On the sample compactor which activity provided opportunity to move ahead, which enrichedwhat had been learned, and which extended the learning by adding depth and complexity?
Accelerate, Extend, Enrich • Acceleration activities allow the student to hasten or increase speed. This means working on just what is not known or moving to the next instructional level. • Enrichment activities enhance, supplementand/or develop understanding. These are often appropriate for all students, though time can be a constraint. • Extension activities expand or broaden understanding. Tiered assignments are usually developed to extend understanding.
Tiered Assignments Tiered assignments are designed to meet the needs of a group of learners functioning at a range of levels. Students work on the same content but are provided with different activities which are assigned according to ability. • Provide a better instructional match between students and their individual needs • Must add depth and breadth to student understanding of the curriculum • Can be individual, partner or group tasks
Six Ways to Structure Tiered Assignments • Challenge Level-Use Bloom’s Taxonomy • Complexity-More layers to the assignment • Resources-Relate to abilities • Outcome-Same materials, different product • Process-Same outcome, but a different process • Product-Tied to learning styles
Make Tiering Invisible • Make sure you introduce all tiered activities in an equally enthusiastic manner and alternate which activity is introduced first • Plan tasks that, while different, allow the same level of activity. • Show fairness in terms of work expectations. • Require use of key concepts, skills, or ideas.
Acceleration is really about letting students soar It is an essential approach to differentiation that respects individual differences and acknowledges the fact that some of these differences merit educational flexibility. (Templeton National Report)