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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 9, 2009

Guidelines for national academic acceleration policy released at conference

The United States does not have a uniform national policy addressing academic acceleration, the practice of advancing students in subjects at a rate that places them ahead of where they would normally be in school. Gifted education experts at the University of Iowa hope to change that.

colangeloNicholas Colangelo (left), Susan Assouline and Maureen Marron, with the UI College of Education's Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, led a group that released the publication "Guidelines for Developing an Academic Acceleration Policy" at the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) national convention in St. Louis Nov. 7.

"This is critical for implementing the research on acceleration into policy," said Colangelo, chair of the coalition behind the publication, director of the UI Belin-Blank Center and lead author of "A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America's Brightest Students."

guidelinesThe Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration, part of the Belin-Blank Center at the UI, NAGC and the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted (CSDPG) collaboratively presented the guidelines for developing an academic acceleration policy.

Colangelo said acceleration is one of the most effective and research-based interventions for the academic growth of students who are ready for an advanced or faster-paced curriculum.

"What we do not have nationally is any set of policies on acceleration," Colangelo said. "This is the first document to provide a template that can be used nationally."

Currently, eight states have acceleration policies. Most others leave it up to the school districts to develop the practice of acceleration, "which invites inconsistency and a hesitancy to try the unfamiliar without direction and support," write NAGC President Ann Robinson and NAGC Executive Director Nancy Green in the report's introduction.

"Our goal is that all 50 states will have written policies and that they are consistent with the guidelines," Colangelo said.

Rosanne Malek, CSDPG president, also said that these guidelines will "provide educators and policy makers with guidance to create a vision grounded in research and to adopt policy to support this vision for the K-12 grade students who require an accelerated learning pace and advanced curriculum that assures student academic success."

To view the guidelines, visit

The Belin-Blank Center, NAGC and CDSPG will distribute the publication to schools, district leaders and state decision makers at no cost.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Nicholas Colangelo, UI Belin-Blank Center, 319-335-6148; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,