Accelerated Placement Act

Accelerated Placement Act

Public Act 100-0421:  Procedures

Introduction

The mission of Oak Lawn – Hometown School District 123 is “Learning Today for a Successful Tomorrow.”  To that end the Board of Education believes that all students across the achievement spectrum should be challenged and supported to develop their potential.  For some students needing a higher level of instruction, this can best be achieved by affording them access to curricula and learning environments more commonly provided to older students.  This document will describe the process that the district will use for evaluating students for possible accelerated placement and identifying students who should be granted early admission to kindergarten or first grade, accelerated in one or more individual subject areas, or promoted to a higher grade level than their same-age peers.  The policy shall be applied equitably and systematically to all students referred for acceleration regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gifted and talented status, twice/multiple exceptionality, English language proficiency or socioeconomic background.

Acceleration is part of the D123’s Multi-Tiered System of Support.  School District 123 defines Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) as a framework comprised of RtI academic and social emotional supports and PBIS behavioral supports. All D123 students’ developmental needs are met through high quality, research-based core instruction which is differentiated to meet all students’ unique learning styles. The MTSS framework involves regular monitoring of student progress by a problem-solving team comprised of school personnel and family. All decisions made by the problem-solving team are driven by child response data and a commitment to ensuring that all students are given equal opportunity to be successful.  The MTSS Framework, relative to accelerated programming, provides students with an opportunity to experience individualized programming at various levels of intensity. Individualized programming is developed based on student assessment data.


Definition

Accelerated Placement is the placement of a student at the instructional level that best matches that student’s needs by allowing access to a curriculum that is usually reserved for children who are older or in higher grades than the student.  Accelerated placement options must include, but need not be limited to, early entrance to kindergarten and first grade, individual subject acceleration, and whole grade acceleration. Accelerated placement is not limited to those students who have been identified as gifted and talented, but rather is open to all students who demonstrate high ability and who may benefit from accelerated placement.  

Early Entrance to Kindergarten is the admission of a student to kindergarten who will not yet be five years old by Sept. 1st of that school year.

Early Entrance to First Grade is the admission of a student to first grade who will not yet be six years old by Sept. 1st of that school year and who has not completed kindergarten.  Students who are younger than six upon starting first grade but who were admitted early to kindergarten do not need to be reevaluated prior to admission to first grade.

Whole grade acceleration is the practice of assigning a student to a higher grade level than is typical given the student’s age on a full-time basis for the purpose of providing access to appropriately challenging learning opportunities.  

Individual subject acceleration is the practice of assigning a student to specific content at a higher instructional level than is typical given the student’s grade for the purpose of providing access to appropriately challenging learning opportunities in one or more subject areas.  

Acceleration requires high academic ability.  Standardized test scores and teacher observation can provide evidence  that a student has mastered the current curricula and is ready for a faster-paced and/or challenging curricula.  Motivation and social-emotional maturity are also important factors to consider.

Acceleration may not be appropriate for students with some of the following characteristics:

  • has an older sibling in the same grade level to which the student may be accelerated;
  • is sufficiently challenged by the curriculum at his/her current grade level;
  • would be significantly less emotionally mature than typical students at the grade level to which he or she may be accelerated; or
  • responds negatively to the possibility of acceleration.

Karen Rogers’ book, Re-Forming Gifted Education, includes tools for parents designed to help them gather information about their child’s development that may be useful in discussing learning needs with their child’s school personnel.

Publication

Copies of the Board Policy on Accelerated Placement and referral forms for evaluation shall be made available to district staff and parents at each school building and shall be published on the district website.  

Referral Procedures

Any student residing in the district may be referred by a teacher, administrator, gifted education specialist, counselor, school psychologist, or a parent or legal guardian of the student to the Principal for evaluation for possible accelerated placement.  A student may refer himself or herself through a district staff member who has knowledge of the referred student’s abilities.

The Principal (or designee) of each school building shall solicit referrals of students for evaluation for possible accelerated placement annually, and ensure that all staff are aware of procedures for referring students for evaluation for possible accelerated placement.  

Forms for Early Entrance to Kindergarten or First Grade

Early Entrance to Kindergarten/First Grade Parent Request Form

Parent Questionnaire for Early Entrance

Teacher Questionnaire for Early Entrance

Forms for Academic Acceleration

Request for Academic Acceleration Form

Parent Questionnaire for Academic Acceleration

Teacher Questionnaire for Academic Acceleration

Evaluation Process

*Note:  Requests for whole grade or subject acceleration will be considered only for students who have been enrolled in D123 for at least one academic year.  

The evaluation team shall consist of:  building principal (or designee), classroom teachers (current and advanced grade/content teacher), school psychologist, parent or guardian.  

The deadline to submit a request for possible acceleration is April 1st

Assessments will be administered no earlier than April 1st

Decision will be made and communicated to parent/guardian prior to June 15th

A parent or legal guardian of the referred student may appeal in writing the decision of the evaluation team to the Superintendent within thirty (30) days of being notified of the committee’s decision.  

Placement Measures

Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI):  The WPPSI  is an IQ test for preschool and early elementary-aged children to determine their intelligence quotient. An IQ score established by this exam can help with preschool and kindergarten admission determinations, as well as with psychological and general academic evaluations. The test is similar to the other Wechsler scales developed by David Wechsler for children and adults, but this scale is specifically-targeted for children ages two-and-a-half through seven years and three months.

Iowa Acceleration Scale:  The IAS is an objective guide for considering an individual child for academic acceleration. Developed and piloted by the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa, the IAS ensures that acceleration decisions are systematic, thoughtful, well-reasoned, and defensible. Designed to take personal bias out of the decision-making process when considering a child for whole-grade acceleration, the IAS requires assessment information (test and other data) and utilizes a child-study team format to come to agreement on a series of assessment questions related to the child’s motivation, school attendance, relationships with teachers and peers, and more.

Illinois Assessment of Readiness for Grades 3-8:  This is a state mandated test for students in Grades 3-8 covering literacy and mathematics.  

ACCESS:  ACCESS is an individual and group administered assessment designed to measure academic English language proficiency relative to state learning standards and determining English Language Learners’ continued eligibility for support services.  

MAP:  NWEA Map is an adaptive assessment used as a universal screener in Grades K-8 to identify students in need of academic supports in literacy and mathematics.  

Standard-Based Report Card Grades:  Oak Lawn-Hometown District 123 utilizes a standards-based report card.  Standards-based grading measures the mastery of learning targets. It is based on a specific set of standards that students need to meet for each grade/content area.  Marks are not a comparison of one student to another, but rather a way to measure how well students are performing on grade-level/content area standards.

Parent/Guardian Consent: Parents/guardians will complete a questionnaire and consent form.

Teacher Recommendation:  Teachers will complete a questionnaire and provide evidence of student work.  

Student Consent:  Students in grades 1 through 8 will be asked to give verbal consent.

Placement Criteria

Kindergarten

WPPSI Iowa Acceleration Scale
Score greater than or equal to 130 60-80

First Grade

Iowa Acceleration Scale Local Assessment (Subset of each end of module assessment for Kindergarten in ELA and Math)
60-80

Subject Acceleration

PARCC, ACCESS, if available MAP Standard Based Report Card Grades Local Assessment
Overall “exceeds” score in the content area 98th percentile for 3 consecutive test administrations A “4”  in the subject area requested Must score at least one grade level above current grade

Whole Grade Acceleration

PARCC, ACCESS, if available MAP Iowa Acceleration Scale Standard Based Report Card Grades Local Assessment (Subset of each end of module assessment for the year that will be skipped)
Overall “exceeds” score 99th percentile for 3 consecutive test administrations 60-80 At least a 4 in 3 out of 4 core subjects (i.e. ELA, math, science and social studies)

Accelerated Placement

The Evaluation Team shall create a written placement and transition plan for students selected for whole grade acceleration or acceleration in an individual subject area.  The written plan will be provided to the student’s parents or guardians and will detail the type of acceleration the student will receive and strategies to be used to support the student to facilitate a successful transition to the accelerated setting.  

The decision to accelerate will be communicated to the student’s teacher(s) and relevant personnel to ensure that all are informed and prepared to support the placement.  The accelerated student’s transition will be closely monitored by their classroom teacher(s). Initial progress and parent communication will take place no later than thirty (30) days after placement.  Any accommodations or modifications the student is entitled to receive under an IEP or 504 plan shall be available in the accelerated setting.

District Responsibilities

The district will ensure that accelerated students participate in appropriate state assessments based on guidance from the State Board of Education.  Students who participate in acceleration will be tagged in Skyward so that data regarding their progress is collected and reported in accordance with rules adopted by the State Board of Education.  

Parents are encouraged to maintain open communication with their child and their child’s teachers.  Please note that your child may be concerned about his or her ability to meet higher expectations and new challenges so may express mixed feelings.  Acceleration may pose new challenges socially and academically. Therefore, parents are encouraged to reserve judgement as to the success or failure of an acceleration during the adjustment period.  

Although every effort is made to find the best possible placement for students, occasionally acceleration is not the best fit for the child.  For example, the child might be unable to meet standards, exhibit a great deal of anxiety of frustration, or be unable to keep up with the pace or demand of the classes.  A review at the end of the second trimester will identify students of concern. Parents will then be notified, at which time a meeting may be warranted to review placement.  Please note that the accelerated student’s parent or guardian may request in writing that the student be returned to the non-accelerated setting without penalty by the end of the first trimester.