Acceleration & Advancement
In some cases, subject or whole grade acceleration is the best option to meet the unique learning needs of a student.
In rare instances young children are already reading, counting, and categorizing, are developmentally advanced in thinking skills, language acquisition, and quantitative reasoning, and may be ready for early entrance into kindergarten or first grade. These children also need to be advanced in personal development and emotional maturity.
Early entrance is a form of grade acceleration. A parent may request early admission to kindergarten if the child turns five after the district's deadline for kindergarten entrance. Any student turning five on or after Aug. 2 AND on or before Dec. 31 is eligible for the assessment process.
- What does the assessment process look like?
- How many students are typically recommended for Early Entrance?
- How do I know if my child is a good candidate for Early Entrance?
- What are some factors that are strong indicators that Early Entrance is NOT right for my child?
- What are the steps in the assessment process?
- What can I expect during the testing and evaluation process?
- How will I be informed whether or not my child has met the criteria?
- What if my child is not recommended?
- What if I change my mind after my child has been recommended?
- May I use the results from an independent evaluation?
- What is the timeline?
Lakota Local Schools offers a thorough assessment process in order to prepare a recommendation to accept or to decline early admission. The process follows the Ohio Department of Education's full assessment protocol that includes tests of ability and tests of achievement in reading and math. It is called the Iowa Acceleration Scale.
An initial assessment of reading and math achievement is completed by appointment with a gifted specialist. Children who meet the minimum score requirement will be invited to meet for a cognitive ability assessment. Following the assessments, parents, an early childhood administrator and Gifted Services will hold a conference. At that time, assessment results will be shared and discussed to determine placement.
Typically, one or two children in a hundred meet the expectations required to enter school early. Early entrance is a form of grade acceleration. Therefore, the team is not simply looking to see if a child is ready for kindergarten (or first grade); the team is investigating to see if a child is ready to accelerate a year ahead of his/her peers.
Parents need to consider that early entrance is a decision that will impact the child throughout the school experience, not just for a year or two. When accelerated children enter the middle grades or junior school, their peers may be more physically developed and have broader parental permission regarding social activities. Challenges may occur in high school as peers may have a driver’s license or begin to date when the accelerated student is not eligible at that time. Parents must consider that entrance to college will follow earlier than traditionally expected, and the student will require profound maturity to effectively face adult decisions and potential pressures.
Below are some ability/achievement/aptitude characteristics that are considered good indicators of success with Early Entrance to Kindergarten or first grade:
- Understands the meanings and use of words better than other children his/her age
- Is curious about many things and asks questions often
- Is very good at working puzzles or solving problems
- Has a great sense of humor and understands jokes more than other children his/her age
- Has a good memory and remembers details of conversations or stories
- Is interested in difficult concepts such as time or space
- Concentrates on certain activities much longer than other children his/her age
- Reads (and understands text) in picture books or chapter books
- Figures out math-related problems better than other children his/her age
Other important school and behavior-related factors:
- Enjoys learning new information or skills
- Participates in community-sponsored activities such as sports, music, library, and museum programs
- Believes he/she is capable of succeeding at new tasks
- Considers feedback and criticism thoughtfully and modifies behavior appropriately
- Behaves often in a way that is positive and effective
- Has good interpersonal skills with same-age peers, as well as older and younger children, and adults
- Has excellent interpersonal relationships with adults in a teaching role
- The child has one (or more) older sibling(s) in the grade in which he/she will be placed.
- The child did not want to attend preschool or missed school often because of illness or family issues.
- There is no extra time in the day to provide additional support to my child that he/she may need in order to transition to a new setting with higher academic demands.
- Watch the video outlining the process for Early Entrance to Kindergarten or First Grade
- Complete the Early Entrance Application, available above in early February.
- Receive an email (in April) with next steps from Gifted Services.
- Sign-up for academic testing. The sign up will be provided later this spring. Testing begins in Late May/early June.
- Parents will be contacted by the Gifted Services Department with the results within 48 hours of testing and may be asked to bring back their child for further testing and a conference.
Your child will work with a Gifted Intervention Specialist to gain a score in reading and math achievement. A minimum ability score in reading and math is required to continue testing and have a team meeting.
You will be notified by phone within 48 hours of testing as to whether your child has met the minimum ability, and then you will need to make an appointment to continue testing. If your child does not meet the minimum ability required, testing will stop, and entrance to kindergarten will occur in the next school year.
Recommendations for or against Early Entrance are made in the child’s best interest. All recommendations are given based on what is best for the child at this point in his/her development. If Early Entrance is not appropriate at this time, grade or subject acceleration may be investigated at a later time in the school career. If parents believe that results of the testing are not accurate, they may appeal by following the appeal process found on the website.
Yes, the results of any independent assessment will be considered if the instruments used are on the list of approved instruments for identification of gifted students by the Ohio State Department of Education and are administered by a licensed psychologist. A copy of test results and credentials of the psychologist will need to be submitted for review. Achievement results provided by the licensed psychologist may also be considered and accepted for use in the Iowa Acceleration Scale.
- Feb. 1 - Registration for Early Entrance opens
- April - Families will be contacted via email with Next Steps and link to sign up for Testing.
- Late May/ Early June — Academic and Cognitive assessments take place.
- Parents will sign up for a slot. Directions will be provided in the spring.
- Gifted Services will notify the family of the results within 48 hours and schedule a follow up session if moving to the next round of assessment.
- June — The final date that requests will be accepted for early entrance is announced above with the application. The only exception will be those that are able to document a move into the district after this date.
In a few instances, a student's ability in a particular subject area may be so advanced that his/her needs are best met by the curriculum of a higher grade level. In such situations, a student may participate in instruction in an upper grade - visiting another class at math time, for instance. As an alternative, curricular materials from an upper grade may be "imported" to the student's regular classroom for the child to work on at his/her home.
Please contact your principal regarding a subject acceleration request prior to completing and submitting the Gifted Identification Referral form.
In even fewer instances, a student's abilities across the entire curriculum may be so advanced, that his/her educational needs may be best met at a higher grade level. In such cases, a student may "skip" a grade. The decision to meet a child's needs through full grade acceleration is made very carefully, since attending school with older classmates may pose some social and emotional challenges. For some families, it is even relevant to consider how participating with older classmates will impact a child's athletic life.
When full grade acceleration is considered, extensive consultation is involves the family, classroom teacher, gifted specialist, school psychologist and a school administrator. Please contact your principal regarding a whole grade acceleration request prior to completing and submitting the Gifted Identification Referral form.