Grade Acceleration into Grades 2 and Above
Grade acceleration is one of several possible interventions used to support students who show very advanced achievement and have the aptitude to complete academic work that is typically reserved for older students. Students eligible for grade skipping are often extreme outliers for their current grade such that they do not have academic peers and show advanced skills even when compared to students in the next grade level. Grade acceleration is also referred to as early entrance, grade skipping, or accelerated placement.
Parents can apply for their child to be grade accelerated at any time. Applications submitted after April 1st may not be considered until the fall of the upcoming school year.
Children who are new to District 15 and have successfully completed first grade or above, may not need to apply for grade acceleration even if they are not considered age appropriate (e.g., are considered to be too young by state standards) for their desired grade. If a child that is new to the district has successfully completed first grade or above, the principal will determine the child’s grade placement after reviewing your child’s school records, contacting your child’s previous school, and reviewing your child’s academic skill levels. Children coming from foreign schools will also have their school records reviewed by the Second Language Department.
The District 15 Grade Acceleration Process
Grade acceleration, often referred to as grade skipping, may occur in English/Language Arts, Math, and for a whole grade. Grade acceleration occurs when a student is taught with instruction and materials typically reserved for older students and is provided when the District determines a student to be academically and intellectually advanced for their age and prepared for the rigor of next-grade-level instruction.
APPLYING FOR GRADE ACCELERATION
To apply for grade acceleration, your child must be a current District 15 resident. Parents or guardians of children that reside in the District 15 boundaries may complete an online grade acceleration application form. Completing the online application starts the consideration process. Completing the application does not mean that grade acceleration will necessarily occur. If you need assistance with the application, please call (847) 963-3114.
After completing the online application, the school will contact you and schedule times for your child to complete a series of 4 tests that measure your child’s general reading, math, and cognitive aptitudes. Your school may take several weeks before contacting you to schedule testing. If a language other than English is spoken in the child’s home, the school will contact the District’s Second Language Department to determine if any language supports or accommodations during testing are appropriate.
All student tests are completed at your child’s District 15 school. Each child completes a series of standardized tests. First, children take the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test in reading and math. MAP is used to determine your child’s academic skills. Next, the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is used to determine your child’s verbal, nonverbal reasoning, and quantitative skills and aptitudes. District 15 does not accept substitutions for these tests unless the District determines that these tests are inappropriate for the student.
Your child’s teacher will also be asked to supply information through an online questionnaire. The questionnaire asks the teacher to summarize observations of the child’s classroom work and observed classroom skills.
GRADE ACCELERATION CRITERIA
District 15 uses a decision making matrix to determine if a child is ready for grade acceleration. The matrix is used to assign points to each of your child’s 4 test scores. Based on performance, each test area can earn from 0 to 9 points. The points from the five tests are averaged to create a single overall score. This average score is then compared to a decision making guide to determine if the child shows sufficient readiness for grade acceleration. The teacher questionnaire is used to identify areas of concern or strength for the child that may not be captured by the five standardized tests. The advantage of this system is that one or two areas of less developed skills does not necessarily preclude the child from grade acceleration. Also, the teacher’s input is provided through a structured system and is also considered when making decisions.
DECISION MAKING AND PARENT/GUARDIAN NOTIFICATION
After completing both the MAP and CogAT, the school’s principal will contact the parent/guardian to discuss the student’s assessment results and grade acceleration eligibility. Eligibility is considered when a child’s average points average 6 or higher. Parents/guardians will receive a written notice with the final grade acceleration decision. The school will develop a written transition plan for eligible students.
Parents may appeal a grade acceleration decision by completing the District 15 Appeal Form. Appeals must be made no later than 14 days after the grade acceleration decision date. Appeals received after July 15 may not be reviewed prior to the start of the upcoming school year. Retests are granted only when unique circumstances are determined by the District to have occurred.
Grade Acceleration Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who do I contact about having my child assessed for grade acceleration?
Q. How can I prepare my child for the assessments?
Q. Why are the criteria for grade acceleration so high?
Q. When will the assessment process take place?
Q. How will I be informed about my child’s results?
Q. Who makes the decision about whether my child is eligible for grade acceleration?
Q. What if I do not agree with the test results or the team’s decision for my child?
Q. My student is very high achieving but just missed qualifying based on the criteria. How will he/she be challenged and supported?