This information was produced by the staff of the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development (B-BC) at the University of Iowa (belinblank.org). The resources and information listed here are for informational purposes; there is no direct or implied endorsement by the B-BC. Services provided by the B-BC include programs for academically talented K-12 and college students, professional development for teachers, the Assessment and Counseling Clinic, the Acceleration Institute (accelerationinstitute.org), and graduate programs and research in gifted education.

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Grants - 2008

Accelerating Progress: Evaluating the Impact of State Acceleration Policy on Local Practice

Eric Calvert & Mary Rizza
Ohio Department of Education

In the last three years, Ohio has implemented a comprehensive plan that has included a statewide study, enacted legislation requiring districts to implement research based acceleration policies, developed a state model acceleration policy, and updated data tracking systems to better facilitate monitoring data on the use of acceleration. Even with strategies in place, however, use of acceleration remains inconsistent across the state, suggesting that significant barriers to acceleration remain in some schools and communities. The purpose of this project is to evaluate the impact of Ohio’s acceleration strategy to date, and investigate why accelerative options continue to be underutilized despite widespread support. Qualitative data will be used to support and explain self-report data from districts on practices related to acceleration.

Comparing Accelerated and Non-Accelerated Gifted Development at the Secondary and College Levels: Chinese Experiences

David Yun Dai, University at Albany, SUNY
Ming (Amy) Fu, Beijing Normal University
SaiyingHu, Purdue University

The proposed study would make a series of comparisons between gifted students who graduated from acceleration programs and their older counterparts who graduated from non-acceleration gifted programs, and between gifted students who were accelerated at the secondary level at the age of 10 and those accelerated at the tertiary level at the age of 15, and within the accelerated groups, between those who were “well adjusted” and those who encountered academic or social and emotional problems. The comparison dimensions we focus on are: (a) academic interests and challenges at various junctures and aspects of their acceleration program; (b) motivational, self-regulatory, and coping-related issues regarding their self and future; and (c) social skills, student-teacher relations, peer relations, and friendship. The purposes of the study are to discern unique patterns of issues and challenges facing accelerated students at different developmental stages, and identify factors leading to a successful academic acceleration and factors that impede positive development associated with academic acceleration. For these purposes, two acceleration programs in China will be selected at target groups, and two matching groups of students from non-accelerated gifted programs will be selected as comparison groups. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with the graduates of these programs as well as homeroom teachers in the programs.

The Role of Academic Acceleration in the Development of Scientific Talent: The Case of Nobel Laureates

Larisa Shavinina
University of Quebec

The proposed project is about the role of academic acceleration in the development of scientific talent in the case of Nobel laureates in science—starting with the first laureate, who received his prize in 1901, and ending with the most recent laureates, who received their prizes in 2007 (N=586). Winning a Nobel Prize represents the pinnacle of accomplishment possible in science. Despite the ever-increasing role of science in society and the quite evident importance of Nobel laureates in contemporary science, one should acknowledge that their academic acceleration has never been studied. Nobel laureates during their childhood encompassed a wide range of abilities. Their divergent trajectories of talent development ultimately led to the same result: zenith in science. Using the case-study method and the interview method, the proposed research aims to understand the role of academic acceleration in achieving this result and whatlessons can be derived for the education of today’s gifted children. The discovery of the impact of academic acceleration on the educational development of Nobel laureates will allow educators to accordingly improve, develop, modify and transcend areas in the current curriculum in an attempt to cultivate scientific talent, of Nobel calibre, in future generations. The project is of great potential impact on the topic of academic acceleration because for the very first time it will explore this phenomenon in Nobel laureates and thus begin the systematic study of its role in the development of outstanding scientific talent. Its impact on achieving tremendous success in science will be one of the sound arguments in favor of this educational option.

Trait and Process Determinants of Advanced Placement Test Performance

Philip Ackerman
Georgia Institute of Technology

The Advanced Placement (AP) program represents a highly sought-after set of opportunities for accelerated study among talented high school students. However, little is known about the ingredients for success in the AP programs beyond some general information regarding student aptitudes and abilities. The proposed study will examine 150 students in an AP course. The study will involve assessment of a small set of key cognitive, affective, and conative trait complexes and a set of monthly questionnaires of student behaviors, attitudes, interests, and self-evaluations to evaluate the role of trait and process determinants of individual and gender differences in AP test performance success. The results are expected to provide important information about the determinants of success in AP test courses, that may in turn, be expected to help identify students who are best suited to these courses.