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:
Other components mentioned in the law include:
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 Policies! Check 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.
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.