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 ( 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 (, 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.


Assouline, S., Colangelo, N., Lupkowski-Shoplik, A., Forstadt, L., & Lipscomb, J. (2009). Iowa Acceleration Scale manual: A guide for whole-grade acceleration K-8 (3rd Ed.). Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press.

The Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS) has been developed to guide educators in making important decisions regarding whether or not particular students are good candidates for whole-grade acceleration (grade-skip). The IAS is designed for use with students in grades K-8. It is an appropriate guide for early entrance to kindergarten or first grade. The IAS Manual is an easy-to-read monograph that is designed to be used as a reference guide in conjunction with the IAS Form, since the manual contains explanations and instructions for filling out each item in the Form.

Forstadt, L., Assouline, S., & Colangelo, N. (2007). Evaluating the effectiveness of the Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS) in determining the appropriateness of whole-grade acceleration. Paper presented at the annual conference of the National Association for Gifted Children. Minneapolis, MN.

The presentation can be found here.

Lipscomb, J. M. (2003). A validity study of the Iowa Acceleration Scale. Unpublished dissertation, The University of Iowa.

The Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS) was designed to aid educators in determining whether an elementary or secondary student would benefit from whole-grade acceleration (also known as grade skipping). The 20-item scale addresses a student's measured intellectual ability and achievement, motivation, attitudes towards learning, and relationships with peers and teachers, as well as the attitudes of educators, parents, and the student toward acceleration. Between 1992 and 1998, complete data on 103 IAS cases were amassed by the Belin-Blank Center. These data were utilized to generate information about how well components of the IAS function together (part of internal structure evidence for validity). Results of the study suggest that each of the IAS's four subscales contribute to a distinct set of information to the total score. The subscales and 13 of the 20 items function as intended by positively contributing to the total IAS score. The findings also suggest changes that could increase the ability of the IAS to distinguish among the small and potentially homogenous group of students who are nominated for acceleration.

Moon, T. R., Callahan, C. M., Brighton, C. M., Hertberg, H., & Esperat, A. M. (2003). School Characteristics Inventory: Investigation of a quantitative instrument for measuring the modifiability of school contexts for implementation of education innovations. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 27(2/3), 146-176.

In response to the numerous school reform initiatives being implemented, Sternberg proposed a theory of contextual modifiability stating that successful change in a school requires that the school be modifiable. Sternberg developed the School Characteristics Inventory (SCI), a 116-item Likert scale questionnaire, to assess schools' modifiability. The purpose of this study was to conduct a reliability and validity study on the instrument using data from a larger study on the effectiveness of innovations addressing academic diversity. Specifically, the SCI factor structure, item analyses, and validity evidence of the SCI were examined. Six factors (59 items) were extracted and rotated to simple structure, accounting for 42% of the variance across the factor solution. Internal consistency estimates were obtained to assess the reliability of these factors, with coefficient alphas ranging from a low of .76 to a high of .94. The present data give credence to the reliability and validity of the SCI and tentatively support the organizational modifiability construct theorized by Sternberg.

Feldhusen, J. F., Proctor, T. B., & Black, K. N. (2002). Guidelines for grade advancement of precocious children. Roeper Review, 24(3), 169-171.

The authors’ main purposes are to clarify the need of challenges in students’ learning, review the literature on the effects of grade acceleration for students, and provide suggestions for best practices in making decisions about grade advancement. Because this is a review article, instead of testing hypotheses, the authors present data supporting their assertion that grade advancement is a legitimate and valuable way to meet the needs of some intellectually or academically gifted students. First, the authors cite a previous study showing that students are best able to learn a skill or concept when it is taught at an appropriate challenge level, noting that “when a new task to be learned is too difficult, students are frustrated; when it is too easy, they are bored and lose interest in learning.” This finding supports the belief that advanced students who are not placed in challenging (i.e. accelerated or enriched) settings may lose interest.The authors write that acceleration is a practical, research-supported technique for most school levels. Numerous studies (cited in the article) have shown that accelerated students do not suffer from social and emotional difficulties at a different rate from their non-accelerated peers. The authors provide guidelines for advancing a child, including having a comprehensive psychological evaluation of the child’s intellectual functioning, academic skills levels, and social-emotional adjustment; ensuring that the child demonstrates academic skill levels above the mean of the grade desired; and ensuring that the child does not feel unduly pressured by the parents to advance.The authors conclude that, for intellectually advanced children who have been properly screened, academic acceleration is likely a viable way to ensure appropriate education. This conclusion is in agreement with previous studies, and this article adds to the literature by succinctly presenting a need for acceleration, citing research supporting acceleration, and providing introductory steps to consider in the acceleration process.

Feldhusen, J. F., & Wood, B. K. (1997). Developing growth plans for gifted students. Gifted Child Today, 20(6), 48-49.

The article discusses the need for gifted and talented students to develop annual talent growth plans with the assistance of their counselors or program coordinators. It lists potential talent development services (such as mentorships, Odyssey of the Mind, and grade advancement), and describes the components of a sample growth plan used with approximately 600 gifted students.

Callahan, C. M. (1992). To accelerate or not to accelerate: Evaluation gives the answer. Gifted Child Today, 15(2), 50-56.

This article examines issues of student and program evaluation in determining the appropriateness of acceleration of gifted students. Intellective and nonintellective factors in identifying students for acceleration are discussed as are factors in monitoring student success. Specific program evaluation questions and design issues are also addressed.

Stanley, J. C. (1980). On educating the gifted. Educational Researcher. 9(3), 8-12.

Explores current thinking on ways to improve the identification and education of intellectually talented youth. Discusses the problems of meeting the needs of individuals with many different abilities and describes a model program at Johns Hopkins University for mathematically precocious youth.

Stanley, J. C. (1954). Is the fast learner getting a fair deal in your school? Wisconsin Journal of Education, 86, 5-6.

Discusses identifying gifted children and improving their educational opportunities. "We cannot afford to neglect individualization of instruction for any of our school children,whatever their learning rate may be. Certainly, this includes the fast learner."