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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Annotated Bibliography

Articles are listed in descending order by year (most recent first), and then by first author's last name.

Academic Effects

Kretschmann, J., Vock, M., & Ludtke, O. (2014). Acceleration in elementary school: Using propensity score matching to estimate the effects on academic achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, Advance online publication.

Using German data, we examined the effects of one specific type of acceleration—grade skipping—on academic performance. Prior research on the effects of acceleration has suffered from methodological restrictions, especially due to a lack of appropriate comparison groups and a priori measurements. For this reason, propensity score matching was applied in this analysis to minimize selection bias due to observed confounding variables. Various types of matching were attempted, and, in consideration of balancing the covariates, full matching was the final choice. We used data from the Berlin ELEMENT Study, analyzing, after matching, the information of 81 students who had skipped a grade over the course of elementary school and up to 1,668 nonaccelerated students who attended the same grade level as the accelerated students. Measurements took place 3 times between the 4th and 6th grades, including the assessment of reading, spelling, and mathematics performance. After matching, the results of between-group comparisons regarding performance indices showed no significant effects of skipping a grade, other than a small positive effect found on spelling performance. Theoretical implications and methodological limitations are discussed.

Kuo, Y. L., & Lohman, D. F. (2011). The timing of grade skipping.Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 34(5), 731-741.

The purposes of this study were to investigate the following: (a) the impact of sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and family income on the likelihood of whole-grade skipping between kindergarten and Grade 7 and (b) the effects of grade skipping during elementary or middle school on students' academic achievement in high school.

Arends, R., & Ford, P. M. (1964). Acceleration and enrichment in the junior high school: A follow-up study. Olympia, WA: Washington Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED028558).

To test the effectiveness of a program of acceleration and enrichment, five ninth grade classes of students (25 in each class, IQ's 120 or above) who had been in this program for 2 years were compared to two control (C) classes of academically talented students who had not had the program. All students were given a series of standardized achievement tests and were asked to complete a school attitude questionnaire. Two experimental (E) classes were significantly superior in all comparisons in mathematics, in two of three comparisons in reading, and in one of three comparisons in science (p=.05). In school systems A and B the E-groups were significantly superior in only two of six comparisons with the C-groups. An analysis of the total performance of all the experimental classes revealed that they were significantly superior to the controls in only 10 of 21 cases (p=.05). The performances of average E-groups from the same schools were significantly different from C's in only four of 30 comparisons. Responses from questionnaires did not indicate a significant difference in attitudes between the groups. Conclusions were that the acceleration and enrichment program did not hurt either academically talented or average students, that the special program could be improved, and that the program was more appealing to students and teachers than a more traditional approach.

Klausmeier, H. J., & Ripple, R. E. (1962). Effects of accelerating bright older pupils from second to fourth grade. Journal of Educational Psychology, 53(2), 93-100.

An experiment was conducted to ascertain the effects of accelerating from 2nd to 4th grade pupils of superior learning abilities (SLA) who were above the median CA of all 2nd graders and who had attended a 5-week summer session. The Ss were 1 group of 26 accelerated to the 4th grade; 2 groups of 26 nonaccelerated 3rd graders of SLA, 1 above and 1 below median CA; 2 groups of 26 nonaccelerated 4th graders of SLA, 1 above and 1 below median CA; and 2 groups of 26 nonaccelerated 4th graders of average learning ability, 1 above and 1 below media CA. Based on the performance of the Ss on 32 measures, no unfavorable academic, social, emotional, or physical correlates of acceleration were found. Acceleration of pupils of SLA and above median CA after a 5-week summer session seemed desirable.

Justman, J. (1954). Academic achievement of intellectually gifted accelerants and non-accelerants in junior high school. School Review, 62, 142-150.

The present study seeks to assess the part that the special progress class plays in fostering academic achievement in mathematics, science, social studies, work-study skills, and creative expression in language arts.

Steenbergen-Hu, S., & Moon, S. M. The effects of acceleration on high-ability learners: A meta-analysis. Gifted Child Quarterly, 55(1), 39-53.

Current empirical research about the effects of acceleration on high-ability learners’ academic achievement and social— emotional development were synthesized using meta-analytic techniques. A total of 38 primary studies conducted between 1984 and 2008 were included. The results were broken down by developmental level (P-12 and postsecondary) and comparison group (whether the accelerants were compared with same-age, older, or mixed-age peers). The findings are consistent with the conclusions from previous meta-analytic studies, suggesting that acceleration had a positive impact on high-ability learners’ academic achievement (g = 0.180, 95% CI = -.072, .431, under a random-effects model). In addition, the social-emotional development effects appeared to be slightly positive (g = 0.076, 95% CI = -.025, .176, under a random-effects model), although not as strong as for academic achievement. No strong evidence regarding the moderators of the effects was found.