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Accelerated Placement Act  


The Accelerated Placement Act (Public Act 100-0421) was signed into law on August 25, 2017 and will take effect July 1, 2018.

This Accelerated Placement Act requires Illinois public school districts to adopt and implement policies on acceleration that, at minimum, provide opportunities for early entrance to kindergarten and first grade, opportunities for accelerating a student in a single subject area, and opportunities for “whole grade” acceleration (sometimes referred to as “grade skipping”).

The law also allows districts to provide additional forms of acceleration not specifically addressed in the Accelerated Placement Act such as advanced courses, grade telescoping, AP courses, dual enrollment programs, etc.

The law requires that district acceleration policies include:

  • A provision that states that participation in accelerated placement is not limited to those children who have been identified as gifted and talented, but rather is open to all children who demonstrate high ability and who may benefit from accelerated placement;
  • A fair and equitable decision-making process that involves multiple persons and includes a student’s parents or guardians;
  • Procedures for notifying parents or guardians of a child of a decision affecting that child’s participation in an accelerated placement program; and
  • An assessment process that includes multiple valid, reliable indicators.

Other components mentioned in the law include:

  • Procedures for annually informing the community at-large, including parents or guardians, about accelerated placement opportunities and the methods used for the identification of children eligible for accelerated placement;
  • A process for referral that allows for multiple referrers, including a child’s parents or guardians: other referrers may include licensed educational professionals, the child, with written consent of a parent or guardian, through a licensed educational professional who has knowledge of the referred child’s abilities, or in case of possible early entrance, a preschool educator, pediatrician, or psychologist who knows the child; and
  • A provision that provides that children participating in an accelerated placement program and their parents or guardians will be provided a written plan specifying the type of acceleration the child will receive and strategies to support the child.

The legislation also directs ISBE to collect and disseminate data on academic acceleration.

Full text of the Accelerated Placement Act is available on the Illinois General Assembly website.

Significance of The Illinois Acceleration Act

Decades of research have consistently found that acceleration is an effective practice that can significantly enhance the academic and intellectual growth of advanced students and support healthy social and emotional development when students are selected for accelerated placements using a research-based process.

However, a recent study of acceleration practice in Illinois, conducted by IAGC and the Untapped Potential Project, prior to the adoption of the Illinois Acceleration Act found that 55% of Illinois school districts did not have policies permitting early entrance to Kindergarten and first grade, 46% did not have policies permitting acceleration in individual subject areas, and 90% did not have policies permitting whole grade acceleration. Therefore, acceleration is severely underutilized in Illinois and access to accelerated learning options across the state has been inequitable.

The Acceleration Act will increase access to acceleration throughout Illinois and help ensure that districts adopt equitable, effective, and efficient referral, assessment, and placement practices.

    Acceleration Research and Resources

    To assist local school boards and educators in adopting and implementing acceleration policies and practices that benefit students and comply with the new law, IAGC has developed a Model Acceleration Policy and Procedures and other implementation tools that districts may utilize.

    New NAGC Publication: Developing Academic Acceleration PoliciesCheck out this new 2018 resource from NAGC for sample policies, checklists, and referral forms for early entrance to kindergarten and first grade, individual subject acceleration, and whole grade acceleration.

    IAGC and its partners will also offer a variety of professional development opportunities to support districts as they improve acceleration practices, including sessions at the upcoming IAGC Convention. Follow IAGC’s Facebook page to stay informed about new acceleration tools and professional development resources as they are announced.

    Background Research

    Accelerate Illinois: A report by IAGC and the Untapped Potential Project on the state of acceleration policies and practices in Illinois prior to the adoption of the Accelerated Placement Act.

    A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America's Brightest Students: A report from The Acceleration Institute at the University of Iowa synthesizing research and highlighting effective acceleration practices.

    NAGC Guidelines for Developing an Academic Acceleration Policy: A handbook created by the Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration, the National Association for Gifted Children, and the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted on developing local acceleration policies, including sample policies from other states.

    What One Hundred Years of Research Says About the Effects of Ability Grouping and Acceleration on K-12 Student Achievement: A summary of an extensive meta-analysis by Northwestern University researchers Saiying Steenburgen-Hu and Paula Olszewski-Kubilius and Matthew C. Makel at Duke University exploring the academic, social, and emotional effects of acceleration on gifted and advanced students.


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    Illinois Association for Gifted Children

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    Aurora, IL 60506

    Ph: 630-907-5047
    Fax: 630-907-5976

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    The Illinois Association for Gifted Children is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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