CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
New Iowa Acceleration Scale helps educators determine when to recommend
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A new grade acceleration scale developed at the University
of Iowa will help educators and parents determine whether academically
gifted elementary school students should be accelerated, or allowed to
"skip" a grade.
There is significant evidence indicating whole-grade acceleration is
effective, but there is little information available to help determine
who is ready and when that intervention is necessary, says Susan Assouline
who developed The Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS). The IAS is applicable
for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
The IAS was developed to provide guidance in weighting major factors
that should be considered when making a decision about whole-grade acceleration.
The objective-based IAS uses data from standardized tests that the student
has previously taken to determine a student's level of ability and achievement,
and it offers a standard of comparison with students who have been successfully
The IAS provides educators and parents with a numeric scale and associated
guidelines to help them make appropriate placement choices for children
who have demonstrated high ability to process more information than presented
in their current learning environments.
"There are a number of ways to modify the curriculum for talented
students, including enrichment, pullout programs, cooperative learning
and single-subject acceleration. Each is effective in some instances.
"Research studies indicate that "skipping" a whole grade
is clearly the most effective form of intervention for these students,"
says Assouline, who presented the new scale at the National Association
for Gifted Children national convention earlier this month.
"Whole-grade acceleration breaks with traditional lock-step schooling,
but this does not necessarily mean that it is an educational risk,"
A student might face negative academic, emotional and social effects
from whole-grade acceleration. The possibility of such negative effects
makes whole-grade acceleration one of the more controversial issues that
educators and parents encounter, Assouline says.
But many gifted and talented children need additional educational challenges
that can only be allowed by obtaining them to advance at least one grade.
Assouline is associate director of the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N.
Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development
located at the UI. The IAS was co-developed by Nicholas Colangelo, gifted
education professor, and director of the Belin-Blank Center; Jonathan Lipscomb,
a UI doctoral student; and Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik, director of the Carnegie
Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary Students at Carnegie Mellon University.
The IAS and its accompanying evaluation forms are available through
"Gifted Psychology Press," (602) 954-4200.