Grade Level and Elementary Math Acceleration Programs

Whole Grade Acceleration Guidelines

Reviewed 2015     

Resource: Iowa Acceleration Scale, Belin &. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development

Procedures for grade level acceleration

  1. Initiation of acceleration is usually from a teacher or parent.  Interested parties should contact the building level ELP teacher, who will notify the ELP coordinator and building administrator.  The ELP coordinator will facilitate all grade level accelerations, in conjunction with the building ELP teacher, classroom teacher(s), parents, and building administrator.
  2. Available test scores and observational data will be used to determine if acceleration should be pursued.  The student should be in the top 3% in the current grade level assessments, as well as meet the math acceleration criteria.
  3. If initial data shows a need for further consideration, other assessments, such as: Cognitive Abilities, Key Math, Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test, Woodcock Johnson, reading assessments, MAP, out-of-level tests such as EXPLORE, ACT, etc. or student interviews will be conducted.
  4. A meeting of the parents, ELP personnel, classroom teacher(s), and building administrator will be held to go over the Iowa Acceleration Scale and the assessment data. The following items will be discussed:
    • Reasons behind consideration to accelerate
    • Siblings in same grade acceleration would take place
    • Time of year
    • Academic Ability and Achievement
      • Individualized IQ scores – minimum 1 SD above the mean
      • Achievement tests – on or above grade level
    • School and Academic
      • When and where acceleration takes place
      • Attendance
      • Motivation
      • Attitude
    • Developmental
      • Age
      • Physical / motor development
    • Interpersonal Skills
      • Relationships
      • Emotional development
      • Behavior
    • Attitude and Support
      • Student
      • Parent and school
      • Preparation for acceleration
  5. Final decision for acceleration rests with the school district.  The student may be re-evaluated at a later date.  If whole grade acceleration is an option, an acceleration plan will be developed by the ELP staff and distributed to the parents, administrator, and student file.  Communication between the parents and the ELP staff six weeks after the acceleration will determine if there is a need to revise the plan.

What services are provided for elementary math enrichment and acceleration?

Elementary Math Acceleration

1997, revised 2005, 2008, 2013, 2018

Elementary students who demonstrate exceptional math abilities have the opportunity to work toward the standards for a higher grade level. A staff member or parent may initiate possible math acceleration, as district-wide screening for math acceleration does not begin until the end of 5th grade. The building ELP teacher will gather evidence and present to the ELP Coordinator and District Math Coordinator. The building principal and classroom teacher will be included in discussion, along with the parents. Final placement decisions rest with the school district.

In 3rd -5th grade, accelerated instruction is an option to those students who receive a teacher recommendation based on demonstrated excellence, parent permission and meet at least three of the following criteria:

  1. 98% or above (national norms) on the Iowa Assessment
  2. Two Standard Deviations or above on MAP (above district mean)
  3. CogAT Quantitative Battery at 98th percentile or above
  4. EXPLORE math at 95th percentile or above compared to grade level BEST participants (or similar instrument)
  5. 85% proficiency in the appropriate grade level end of the year tests

Prior to 3rd grade, students may be given the end of the year math tests, the CogAT Quantitative Battery or out-of-level MAP tests to provide evidence of the best grade level placement. Teacher recommendation for possible acceleration will provide the catalyst to seek additional information, and the scores above will serve as a guide for programming.


Acceleration options include but are not limited to advancement to the next grade level for math class and cluster grouping for the purpose of math instruction, and/or independent study facilitated by a mentor.

Continued acceleration will be dependent on the student’s ability to meet the standards of the accelerated class. The ELP staff in collaboration with the building staff and administration will identify qualifying students, appropriate and available programming and counsel students/parents concerning the available options. Students/parents may choose to remain at grade level with an enriched curriculum.

The ELP staff will be responsible for facilitating the acceleration process but most direct instruction in accelerated classes will be provided by non-ELP staff. Students will be served at their normal attendance center whenever possible but may be transported to another building.

At the conclusion of 5th grade, and again in 6th grade, all students are screened by the District Math Coordinator for possible acceleration in middle school.  Starting in 7th grade, students are reviewed on a case-by-case instance.