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.

Radical Acceleration

Gross, M. U. M, & Vliet, H. E. van (2005). Radical acceleration of highly gifted children: An annotated bibliography of international research on highly gifted children who graduate from high school three or more years early. Sydney, NSW: University of New South Wales, Resource and Information Centre.

Gross and van Vliet conducted a literature review of 70 documents concerning radical acceleration. For the purposes of this research, radical acceleration refers to acceleration through a school curriculum by skipping three or more grades. The documents discussed in the review were primarily articles from online databases and manuscripts from experts in gifted education.The review found overwhelming evidence to suggest radical acceleration is appropriate and beneficial to students who qualify when specific support systems are put in place. In particular, successful radical acceleration programs had counseling for the student, study skills programs, and opportunities for social interactions with other students.

Gross, M. U. M., & Vliet, H. E. van (2005). Radical acceleration and early entry to college: A review of the research. Gifted Child Quarterly, 49(2), 154-171.

Radical acceleration is a successful, yet rarely utilized educational practice that assists educators in meeting the cognitive and affective needs of highly gifted students. Individual case studies and cohort studies of students who have radically accelerated are reviewed regarding combinations of procedures that result in successful acceleration, variables that appear to predict success and cognitive and affective outcomes. While research supports the use of radical acceleration for the positive cognitive and affective gains that result for highly gifted students, some concerns about the process have been identified. An outline is presented of procedures that have been shown to lessen the likelihood of unfavorable outcomes. These procedures include counseling support, study skills programs, and opportunities to foster social interaction with other students. The literature concerning radical acceleration strongly supports the wider adoption of this most successful intervention.

Gross, M. U. M. (2004). Exceptionally gifted children (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.

Exceptionally Gifted Children is unique. The first edition of this book, published in 1993, introduced 15 remarkable children, some of the most gifted young people ever studied, and traced their path through school, exploring their academic achievements (and in some cases enforced underachievement), their emotional development, their social relationships and their family relationships and upbringing. This new edition reviews these early years but also follows the young people over the subsequent ten years into adulthood.
No previous study has traced so closely and so sensitively the intellectual, social and emotional development of highly gifted young people. This 20 year study reveals the ongoing negative academic and social effects of prolonged underachievement and social isolation imposed on gifted children by inappropriate curriculum and class placement and shows clearly the long lasting benefits of thoughtfully planned individual educational programs. The young adults of this study speak out and show how what happened in school has influenced and still influences many aspects of their lives. Miraca Gross provides a clear, practical blueprint for teachers and parents who recognise the special learning needs of gifted children and seek to respond effectively.

Gross, M. U. M., & van Vliet, H. E. (2003). Radical acceleration of highly gifted children: An annotated bibliography of international research. Sydney, Australia: Templeton Foundation.

This annotated bibliography summarizes and critiques a range of academic articles concerning the incidence and effects of radical educational acceleration. They comprise research papers, descriptive articles, personal accounts, literature reviews, conference papers, book chapters, and a guidebook. Research papers outline individual case studies, multiple case studies, cohort studies, and biographical accounts of radical acceleration. Some studies are longitudinal in nature, while others are cross-sectional and comparative. Methodologies employed in the studies reported include questionnaires, surveys, interviews, tests of achievement, tests of ability, personality and self-esteem inventories, and measures of social adjustment.

Stanley, J. C., & Sandhofer, L.S. (1997). College graduation before age 19, especially at Johns Hopkins University, 1876-1997. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED454773).

This paper describes some students, especially at Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, who have graduated from college three or more years before the usual age of 22 or older. Such early graduation is not common, but neither is it extremely rare. Some young graduates seem to have been propelled through college under parental pressure, while others have had facilitative parents who simply helped the child use his or her intellectual precocity well. At Johns Hopkins University, a study was reported in 1982 that described the accomplishments of a number of young graduates. Since that time, 25 more students have completed a bachelor's degree before their 19th birthday. The youngest to graduate from Hopkins graduated at age 15 years 7 months, having graduated from high school at age 12. Young men are more likely to graduate from Hopkins early than are young women; Johns Hopkins did not graduate its first female undergraduates until 1972. Johns Hopkins had led most other major universities in its flexible age admissions policies. Young applicants are screened carefully, but they need not be high school graduates. Overall, these young graduates have gone on to successful careers, often in academia or medicine.

Stanley, J. C., et al. (1996). Educational trajectories: Radical accelerates provide insights. Gifted Child Today, 19(2), 38-39.

This article describes common student traits found from analysis of self-reported experiences of six radically accelerated gifted youths. It concludes that intellectual ability far above the average and student eagerness to accelerate are prerequisites for successful radical acceleration. Descriptions by two students of their accelerated programs are included.

Gross, M. U. M. (1994). Factors in the social adjustment and social acceptability of extremely gifted children. In N. Colangelo, S. G. Assouline, & D. L. Ambroson (Eds.), Talent development: Proceedings from the 1993 Henry B. and Jocelyn Wallace National Research Symposium on Talent Development (pp. 473-476). Ohio: Psychology Press.

This presentation proposes that, as practitioners and researchers in gifted education, we differ significantly from our counterparts in other areas of special education, such as teachers of intellectually handicapped or hearing impaired students, in our failure to recognize and respond to the different levels or degrees of the condition we study. - See more here.

Gross, M. U. M. (1994). Radical acceleration: Responding to academic and social needs of extremely gifted adolescents. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 5(4), 27-34.

This paper examines the impact of multiple grade skipping on social adjustment and self-esteem of extremely gifted students. A survey of the literature and research in Australia and the United States on well-planned and carefully monitored radical acceleration finds no evidence that students suffered social or emotional problems; to the contrary, maladjustment was more often found among highly gifted students who were not accelerated.

Janos, P. M., & Robinson, N. M. (1985). The performance of students in a program of radical acceleration at the university level. Gifted Child Quarterly, 29(4), 175-179.

Comparison of academic performance of 24 accelerated students and two groups of college students averaging four years older (24 matched on readiness scores and 24 National Merit Scholars) indicated that accelerated subjects earned cumulative grade point averages comparable to those earned by Merit Scholars and significantly higher than readiness-matched subjects.

Holmes, J., Rin, L., Tremblay, J., & Zeldin, R. (1984). Colin Camerer: The early professional years of a radical educational accelerant. Gifted Child Today, 33, 33-35.

The article describes a gifted child identified by the Study for Mathematically Precocious Youth who graduated from college at 17 and received his PhD at 22. Suggestions are offered regarding acceleration, and the need for individualized educational acceleration is stressed.

Robinson, H. B. (1983). A case for radical acceleration: Programs of the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington. In C. P. Benbow & J. C. Stanley (Eds.), Academic precocity: Aspects of its development (pp. 139-59). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

This book chapter excerpted from Academic Precocity: Aspects of Its Development. Author Halbert Robinson reviews research about how students who enter college early perform academically and socially. Research results suggest that early entrants continue to achieve at high levels in college. Students make the adjustment to the social scene on campus easily and have friendships with typically aged college students. Research suggests that early entrance students tend to continue on to graduate school and use the time gained for further academic opportunities. The decision to enter college early is one of matching a student's needs and abilities to the appropriate environment.

Stanley, J., & Benbow, C.P. (1983). Extremely young college graduates: Evidence of their success. American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, 58, 361-371.

This article by Julian Stanley and Camilla Benbow focuses on individuals who graduated from college at an early age. It describes their success and shows evidence that early college is an excellent option for extremely able students. The authors also offer comparatives statistics for several universities. 

Stanley, J. C. (1978). Radical acceleration: Recent educational innovation at JHU. Gifted Child Quarterly, 22(1), 62-67.

The author describes several of the "radical accelerants" who were identified in a study of mathematically precocious youth and who entered Johns Hopkins University in early adolescence.

Keating, D. P., & Stanley, J. C. (1972). From eighth grade to selective college in one jump: Case studies in radical acceleration. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

The paper examines the problem of highly gifted junior high school students who are intellectually ready for college- level study before beginning high school. The term radical accelerates is used to describe gifted students who jump from junior high to college education, bypassing the high school years. Briefly described are two widely known and successful radical accelerates, Norbert Wiener and Charles Fefferman. Presented in greater detail are case histories of two boys who are current radical accelerates. Methods used by the authors in seeking out mathematically and scientifically precocious students of junior high school age are explained. Possible disruptive effects of academic acceleration are considered, with particular reference to social and emotional development. Previous literature on acceleration is referred to, although little study has been done on radical acceleration. Radical acceleration is seen as the method of choice for some, but not all, extremely able students; alternate possibilities are also mentioned.

Elder, H. E. (1927). A study of rapid acceleration in the elementary school. Journal of Education Research, 15, 5-9.

This study examined the effects of grade-skipping and double promotion in elementary school on academic performance, which was measured by comparing pre- and post-acceleration grades of accelerated students and their non-accelerated peers. The grades of twenty-two elementary school pupils from Monticello, Indiana who had skipped at least one grade in elementary school were compared to their classmates before and after acceleration. Prior to acceleration, the twenty-two students were, on average, about one standard deviation above the mean of their peer group. After acceleration, their average standing with their new peers was .582 standard deviations above the mean. Although all of the students who were accelerated showed a decline in standing with their new peer group, there was not a uniform decline by all of the students who were accelerated. Those students originally in the higher percentiles showed smaller decreases in standard deviation than those originally in lower percentiles. The differences in standard deviation before and after acceleration reflect the intellectual diversity within the accelerated group. The timing of the acceleration seemed to affect standing as well. Those students who skipped second grade showed the greatest decline, and those who skipped fifth grade showed the least decline. No gender differences were found in the effects of acceleration on standing.