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.


National Association for Gifted Children & Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted. State of the states in gifted education, 2012-2013. Washington, DC: Author.

NAGC and CSDPG’s report provides a look at state-level policies on gifted education, including policies on acceleration. The report focuses on laws that affect gifted students from kindergarten through high school. Because so many policies relevant to gifted education (and, more specifically, acceleration) are determined at the state level, this report is a valuable resource for anyone advocating for a gifted student. A summary of findings and purchase information can be found here. For more information, visit the NAGC website.

Colangelo, N., Assouline, S. G., Marron, M. A., Castellano, J. A., Clinkenbeard, P. R., Rogers, K., ..., Smith, D. (2010). Guidelines for developing an academic acceleration policy. Journal of Advanced Academics, 21(2), 180-203.

This report was compiled by a National Work Group in Acceleration consisting of researchers representing the Belin-Blank Center Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration, the National Association for Gifted Children, and the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted. It includes a brief discussion about the types of acceleration and research on effectiveness, then provides suggestions for schools and school districts regarding essential elements of acceleration policies and methods of implementation.

The full report can be found here.

Gallagher, J. J. (2008). Psychology, psychologists, and gifted students. In S.I. Pfeiffer (Ed.), Handbook of giftedness in children: Psychoeducational theory, reasearch, and best practices (pp. 1-11). New York: Springer.

This is the first chapter in Pfeiffer's Handbook of Giftedness in Children, and it provides an overview of many of the topics to be covered in the subsequent chapters. Questions such as "Who are the gifted?" and "Where does giftedness come from?" are posed and discussed, and special attention is paid to characteristics of giftedness and gifted education.

Krueger, C. (2006, March). Dual enrollment: policy issues confronting state policymakers (Policy Brief: Dual/Concurrent Enrollment). Denver, CO: Education Commission of the States.

This article discusses issues facing state policymakers with regard to dual or concurrent enrollment of high school students. Examples of existing state policies on dual enrollment are highlighted in the report, including policies from Florida, Minnesota, New York, Utah, and Washington. The report discusses topics to consider while creating a dual enrollment policy, including P-16 Collaboration, Funding, Equity, Standards, Articulation, and Public Relations. The report also includes additional resources for those writing a policy.

Olson, L. (2006). States push to align policies from pre-K to postsecondary. Education Week, 25(41), 1-18.

Olson outlines a recent trend in education, the forming of P – 16 councils. The purpose of these state-run councils is to ensure greater alignment within a student’s K – 16 education. He describes the P – 16 councils in Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Georgia.

Western Interstate Commission for High Education. (2006). Accelerated learning options: Moving the needle on access and success: A study of state and institutional policies and practices. Boulder, CO: Author.

 The current study, conducted by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) and supported by a grant from Lumina Foundation for Education, complements this recent work and helps fill the knowledge gaps 
by looking at accelerated learning from various perspectives. Accelerated Learning Options: Moving the Needle on Access and Success sought to meet several objectives:
  1. To identify individual state policies related to accelerated learning options and key characteristics of those policies, including similarities, differences, funding guidelines or requirements, directives related to K-12 and higher education collaboration, quality issues, faculty requirements, etc.
  2. To identify institutional policies and practices related to accelerated learning options and the application of accelerated learning credit.
  3. To analyze existing data on the types of accelerated options programs and the students who participate in them, including who they are; how, when, where, and why they participate; and what kinds of options they select. 
  4. To determine the student’s perspective on the value of these programs.
  5. To analyze the cost effectiveness for students, institutions, and states of accelerated options, especially for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented populations.
  6. To present recommendations on effective policy and practice at the state and institutional level to enhance the participation and success of low-income and underrepresented students in accelerated learning programs.

Karp, M. M., Bailey, T. R., Hughes, K. L., & Fermin, B. J. (2005). Update to state dual enrollment policies: Addressing access and quality. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education.

This study is a follow-up to the 2004 report, State Dual Enrollment Policies: Addressing Access and Quality, which surveyed the websites of all fifty state departments of education for information about dual enrollment policies. This 2005 follow-up study continued by first revisiting the websites for updated dual enrollment information, and then by contacting state departments of education to verify information and add additional information if needed. The findings of the study are displayed in a matrix detailing the dual enrollment policies of each state. Based on this follow-up study, dual enrollment policies in 11 states were either updated or changed.

Bragg, D. D., Kim, E., & Rubin, M. B. (2005, November). Academic pathways to college: Policies and practices of the fifty states to reach underserved students. Paper presented at the annual meeting of Association for the Study of Higher Education, Philadelphia, PA.

Bragg, Kim, and Rubin identify and evaluate programs designed to promote college access for underserved students (i.e. low-income, minority, or first-generation college students). This study seeks to discover what academic pathways are implemented in each state, what academic pathways are used by states to reach underserved student groups, and what academic pathways are supported by public policy, particularly state-level legislation and funding.The study reviews literature pertaining to different academic pathways available in each of the fifty states. Nine major pathways were identified:

  • Advanced Placement
  • Bridge Programs
  • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
  • Virtual Schools and Distance Learning
  • Dual Credit
  • Dual or Concurrent Enrollment
  • Early or Middle College High Schools
  • General Educational Development (GED)
  • International Baccalaureate or Technical Schools
After identifying these pathways, the study authors conducted extensive follow-up interviews with state education officials.The results of the study emphasize the need for more research about the effectiveness of academic pathway programs in order to reach underserved students. Although all fifty states identified one or more such programs being used in their state, the majority of the students served by these programs were students who had already identified themselves as college-bound. Further research is needed to identify and evaluate programs working to serve underrepresented student groups attending college.

Florida Board of Education. (2003, December). Study on acceleration mechanisms in Florida. Retrieved January 19, 2006, from

In response to Florida Legislature House Bill 1739, the Florida Board of Education conducted a review of the acceleration mechanisms available to high school students in Florida. The review focused on seven areas:

  • Advising,
  • Availability,
  • Grading Practices,
  • Applicability of accelerated credit to general education requirements,
  • Reducing class size through the use of acceleration,
  • Funding, and
  • Credit-by-examination opportunities after completion of dual enrollment courses.
The review focuses on developing state guidelines to address minimum requirements for participation in acceleration, defining the meaning of “successful completion” of an acceleration mechanism, developing sample parent notification forms for student involvement in programs, and continuing to fund dual enrollment programs.The review is now available here.

Brown, E. F., Avery, L., VanTassel-Baska, J., & Worley, B., II. (2003). Gifted policy analysis study for the Ohio Department of Education (Final Report October 21, 2003). Williamsburg, VA: The College of William and Mary, Center for Gifted Education.

The Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary was contracted to conduct a policy review study across five states to determine the nature, extent, and relative success of policies governing programs for the gifted. The contract for this review was in effect from March to July, 2003. The purpose of this study was to conduct an in-depth review, interpretation, and comparative analysis of state policies that pertain to or impact gifted education. The proposal poses several key research questions, organized under the following overarching questions: 
· In a selected set of states, what are Department of Education policies that represent effective practices for gifted education? 
· What are policy strengths and limitations?

Gallagher, J. J., Clayton, J. R., & Heinemeier, S. (2001). Education for four-year-olds: State initiatives (Tech. Rep. No. 2). Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center, National Center for Early Development & Learning.

Continues and extends earlier study of development of prekindergarten policy from 2001. Examines how states manage a major shift in education policy by establishing state-funded pre-K programs. Includes lessons learned and recommendations for states thinking about beginning or extending pre-K programs.

Gallagher, J. J. (1996). Educational research and educational policy: The strange case of acceleration. In C. Benbow, & D. Lubinski (Eds.), Intellectual Talent: Psychometric and Social Issues (pp. 83-92). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

This article is a book chapter from Intellectual Talent: Psychometry and Social Issues. Author James Gallagher discusses the role educational research has played in the arena of educational reform with particular focus on the effects of acceleration on students, and concerns about acceleration. The conclusion is that research findings are not the variables most frequently used when setting policy.

Belcastro, F. P. (1995). Richardson study: U.S. vs. Iowa. (ERIC Documents Reproduction Service No. ED385960).

Using a questionnaire developed for a 1985 national survey of educational practices for gifted students in both public and parochial schools (the Sid W. Richardson Study), this study surveyed 273 Iowa school districts in 1993 to determine types of programs in existence in Iowa schools and how Iowa schools differed from the nation’s schools in its responses. The study gathered information on 16 program types, which constitute practices or approaches judged appropriate for gifted students. Program types are: (1) enrichment in the regular classroom, (2) part-time special class, (3) full-time special class, (4) independent study, (5) itinerant teacher, (6) mentorship, (7) resource rooms, (8) special schools, (9) early entrance, (10) continuous progress, (11) nongraded school, (12) moderate acceleration, (13) radical acceleration, (14) College Board and Advanced Placement participation, (15) fast-paced courses, and (16) concurrent or dual enrollment. Comparison with the Richardson findings suggested that, overall, Iowa schools had more negative significant results than positive significant results. These negative results included significantly fewer supervisory staff responsible for gifted programs, significantly lower per pupil expenditures, and significantly fewer schools with special funding for gifted students. Positive results included significantly more schools in which all teachers participated in in-service training and significantly more use of libraries.

Coleman, M. R., & Gallagher, J. J. (1995). State identification policies: Gifted students from special populations. Roeper Review, 17(4), 268-275.

Results are presented of a national survey of state policies regarding identification of gifted students from special populations (culturally diverse families, economic disadvantagement, or gifted students with disabilities). Also considered is a followup study on the implementation of state policies in Ohio, Arkansas, and Texas. Future policy directions are recommended.

Gallagher, J. J. (1995). Education of gifted students: A civil rights issue? Phi Delta Kappan, 76, 408-410.

There are many students with high native abilities that remain underdeveloped because of inadequate opportunity, practice, and motivation. Although genetics significantly affects development of various intelligences, environment (including cultural values) and sequential experiences help crystallize native abilities. Schools must organize and institutionalize equal opportunities and experiences for talented students, regardless of race, gender, or ethnic origin.

Reis, S. M., & Westberg, K. L. (1994). An examination of current school district policies: Acceleration of secondary students. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 5(4), 7-18.

This study investigated policies about the use of content acceleration and grade skipping for gifted students in middle and secondary schools by 105 school districts. Results indicated that only 15% of responding districts had formal policies about grade skipping, whereas 57% had informal policies effectively preventing grade skipping. Formal content acceleration policies were likewise rare and/or vague.

Reis, S. M., & Westberg, K. L. (1994). An examination of current school district policies: Acceleration of secondary students. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 5(4), 7-18.

This study investigated policies about the use of content acceleration and grade skipping for gifted students in middle and secondary schools by 105 school districts. Results indicated that only 15% of responding districts had formal policies about grade skipping, whereas 57% had informal policies effectively preventing grade skipping. Formal content acceleration policies were likewise rare and/or vague.

Gallagher, J. J., & Coleman, M. R. (1992). State policies on the identification of gifted students from special populations: Three states in profile. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, Gifted Education Policy Studies Program.

Three states, Ohio, Texas, and Arkansas were selected to study implementation of policies relating to the identification of
gifted students from special populations, i.e., culturally diverse students, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities. Individual profiles were completed for each state, and a cross state comparison was done to identify overall patterns of factors influencing policy implementation. Thirteen influential factors were identified: professional leadership, outside leadership, public attitude, bureaucratic structure, local initiative, flexible rules and regulations, informal relationships, higher education, economic status, the school reform movement, demonstration projects, seed money, and court actions. Factors differed in their level of influence depending on the state and the phase of policy implementation (whether development or application). The most essential aspect of policy development, from the standpoint of special populations students, was felt to be the design of flexible rules and regulations within a set of clearly articulated guidelines. Two possible inhibiting factors to the application of flexible identification policies are identified, and recommendations are offered to states wishing to encourage the identification of and services for gifted students from special populations. The report concludes that substantial resources and support must be made available to educators at the local level to help them move written policies into active educational strategies. Appendices present a questionnaire and topic questions used in gathering data from individuals and focus groups.

Coleman, M. R., & Gallagher, J. J. (1992). Report on state policies related to the identification of gifted students. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, Gifted Education Policy Studies Program.

This report provides an analysis of state policies to identify specific policy barriers to identification of gifted students and to locate states with model policies to facilitate the identification of underserved gifted students (culturally diverse, economically disadvantaged and students with disabilities). The analysis of each state's documents looked at six areas: (1) legislation; (2) definitions of "gifted"; (3) standard identification practices; (4) nonstandard identification practices; (5) due process and grievance procedures; and (6) specific references to gifted students from special populations. Forty-three states have policies on screening. Formal identification often relies on the use of multiple criteria with 46 states incorporating outside school activities, work samples or products and 43 states including measures of creativity. Thirty-three states have mandates for gifted education which are supported by some level of funding. Forty states specifically mention culturally diverse gifted students and 38 include economically disadvantaged children. Students with learning disabilities are addressed by 38 states, and students with sensory and physical disabilities are mentioned by 36 states. Overall findings indicate that, although state policies do not appear to be preventing full services to special populations, program demographics indicate underrepresentation of special groups. Four possible barriers are postulated including: lack of local understanding of state policies; fear of overwhelming numbers if identification is "opened"; lack of resources; and lack of ownership by individuals from special populations towards the program for gifted students. The content analysis matrix is appended.

Demmon-Berger, D. (1985). What are you doing for the gifted and talented? Updating School Board Policies, 16(10), 1-3, 6.

Although 70 percent of the 1,600 schools responding to a survey by the Sid Richardson Foundation in Forth Worth, Texas provides some sort of program for the gifted, this was often found to be only "enrichment." An example of a school system that has gone beyond enrichment is that of Frederick County, Maryland. The system provides an elementary magnet school; and for the middle and high school students there are homogeneous groupings that give students the opportunity to learn at an accelerated rate, advanced placement courses, and early college entrance programs. Another example can be found in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, area where four school systems are scheduled to begin programs for gifted students. Because programs for the gifted and talented are vulnerable to budget cuts from communities that label them "elitist," school boards involved in developing such programs are advised to sell them to the public and work closely with teachers, administrators, and other staff. They should also consider the need for more intensive counseling for gifted and talented students. A policy on gifted education should state how children are selected and placed, and the types of programs and arrangements provided. In addition, the policy should address how credit may be given for accelerated courses completed outside the school system, teacher selection and inservice, guidance services, and program evaluation.

Fluitt, J. L., & Strickland, S. M. (1984). A survey of early admission policies and procedures. College and University, 59(2), 129-135.

Fluitt and Strickland analyzed survey data collected based on admissions information from 1982. Higher education institutions across the country completed a six-page questionnaire regarding admissions requirements for early admissions (during junior or senior year of high school). There were 302 respondents to the survey, representing at least two institutions per state. The survey found that there were not consistent requirements for early admission to colleges and universities. Many post-secondary institutions required a minimum GPA, ACT or SAT score, and a written recommendation from a school official. Of the colleges and universities responding to the survey, less than 10% of them had an admissions policy for extremely gifted youth.