Overview of the Accelerated Placement Act:
The Accelerated Placement Act (Public Act 100-0421) was signed into law on August 25, 2017 and took 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.
Research-Acceleration as an Intervention for Advanced Learners:
Tools and Resources for Schools Developing Acceleration Policies:
- IAGC Model Acceleration Policy and Procedures To assist local school boards and educators in adopting and implementing acceleration policies and evidence-based practices that benefit students, IAGC has developed this model policy and that districts may utilize. Provisions required by the Acceleration Act are noted in the policy.
- Developing Academic Acceleration Policies. Check out this free, updated 2018 resource from the Belin-Blank Center Acceleration Institute, Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted, and the National Association for Gifted Children for sample policies, checklists, and referral forms for early entrance to kindergarten and first grade, individual subject acceleration, and whole grade acceleration.
- Administrative Academy #3011: Administrator Academy #3011 - Academic Acceleration: What Administrators Need to Know Created by IAGC, this Administrators Academy is targeted to district superintendents and district level administrators. It also presents useful information for school principals. This course will increase awareness and knowledge about acceleration, an evidence-based intervention for meeting the needs of high-ability learners. The course reviews policy and legislation pertaining to acceleration. Participants will align their district acceleration policies with the Illinois Accelerated Placement Act that requires districts to have a policy that allows for early entrance to kindergarten and first grade, whole-grade acceleration, and subject acceleration. Participants will also gain resources and knowledge to implement, review, and improve policies to meet the needs of high-ability learners.
(for more information about online/live sessions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
Acceleration in the State of Illinois (Research Archive)
- 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.The State of Our State - IAGC 2019 Conference
- Accelerate Illinois Report (2017): Presented by the IAGC and the Untapped Potential Project, this report outlines the research behind acceleration, its benefits, and a snapshot of the Illinois school districts, which lacked acceleration policies at the time the report was released.
Additional resources related to ESSA and school quality indicators regarding gifted education in Illinois: