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
Parents/guardians or other individuals that are knowledgeable of the child’s skills and aptitudes may refer a child for grade acceleration. Applications for grade acceleration are accepted during the school year and must be completed by the child’s parent or guardian.
A flow-chart version of our process is provided here: Flow Chart
APPLYING FOR GRADE ACCELERATION
The first step in the process is to apply for grade acceleration. In order to apply, your child must be a District 15 student attending a District 15 school. Parents or guardians may then complete an online grade acceleration application form. Completing the online application will start the process, but does not mean that grade acceleration will necessarily occur. If your child is not already attending a District 15 school, please see the District Registration Requirements or call (847) 963-3114 for more information.
After completing the online grade acceleration application form, the school will contact you and schedule times for your child to complete a series of tests that measure your child’s reading, math, and cognitive aptitude. Your school may take up to four weeks before contacting you to schedule testing. If your child is an English Language Learner, the school will contact the District’s Second Language Department to determine if any language supports or accommodations during testing are appropriate.
All student assessments are completed at your child’s District 15 school. Assessment consists of two tests. The Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test (reading and math) are used to determine your child’s academic skills. The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is used to determine your child’s cognitive skills and aptitude. District 15 does not accept substitutions for these tests unless the District determines that these tests are inappropriate for the student.
Students take the MAP and CogAT in sequence. First, students take the MAP test in reading and in math. Children that score at or above the 97th percentile in reading and math for the grade they are seeking to enter will be scheduled to complete the CogAT. Students that take the CogAT will have additional information supplied by the student’s teacher. This information will include observations of the child’s classroom work and observed classroom skills.
GRADE ACCELERATION CRITERIA
To be eligible for grade acceleration, your child’s MAP test scores in reading and math, and the child’s CogAT composite score must all be at or above the 97th percentile for the desired grade.
A school team’s review of the student’s records, classroom work, and past assessments, must also indicate that the student has advanced independence, advanced skills on classroom work, and a present, ongoing need for academic differentiation that is atypical for the child’s current grade level.
DECISION MAKING AND PARENT/GUARDIAN NOTIFICATION
The school’s principal will contact the parent/guardian to discuss the student’s assessment results and grade acceleration eligibility. Eligibility is based upon the above criteria and is determined by the school team.
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 Test Result Appeal Form. Appeals must be made no later than 14 days after the early entrance decision date. Appeals received after May 15 may not be reviewed prior to the start of the upcoming school year.
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?