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WCPSS: Board Policy - 5532 Acceleration and Academics Advancement

5532 Acceleration and Academics Advancement

Acceleration and academic advancement allows any student to work above the assigned grade level, and/or to complete studies at an earlier age. WCPSS students may be nominated for participation in an accelerative practice by a parent, teacher, or themselves. Acceleration opportunities are provided for any K-12 student who meets the requirements while enrolled and attending a school in the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS). Students are considered for accelerative opportunities regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, any specific individual or program identification, disability status, socioeconomic status, and/or English language proficiency, meeting the requirements. Participation in a school's gifted program is not a prerequisite for consideration of any student for acceleration.

Students nominated for acceleration shall meet the criteria for acceleration as established by the guidelines set forth by the Local Education Agency (LEA). Time frame and data needed will be detailed within the WCPSS AIG plan. The School Based Committee for Gifted Education (SBCGE), not individuals, should make acceleration decisions based upon student data compiled at the school site. Membership in the SBCGE includes staff members representative of core content areas and grade levels at the school as well as a school administrator and other school professionals as needed. A full description of SBCGE and membership is included in the AIG Parent Guide and AIG plan.

Based upon student data collected, the SBCGE may recommend the student for Content-based or Grade-based Acceleration. The recommendation of the School Based Committee for Gifted Education shall be presented to the parent/guardian and principal for approval. Any appeal to an accelerative practice decision should follow the Procedures to Resolve Disagreements as outlined in the AIG Parent Guide.

Students in grades 6-8 are allowed to receive graduation credit for high school mathematics, second language, science, and social studies courses, as well as English 1. High school courses taken in middle school may count toward graduation requirements, but the grade earned will not be computed in the student's Grade Point Average (GPA).

A. Differentiated Learning Opportunities

  1. Any student demonstrating need should be provided appropriate, differentiated instruction to meet the varied needs, interests, and learning styles of that individual student.
  2. Teachers should consult with the school's Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) Teacher or AIG Coordinating Teacher along with the SBCGE or school committee to support gifted and/or highly capable learners.
  3. There are two categories for acceleration; Content-based and Grade-based. The distinguishing feature between the two categories is whether the accelerative intervention shortens the number of years that a student spends in the K-12 system.
    1. Content-based Acceleration typically allows a student to remain with peers of the same age and grade for a majority of the school day but receive higher grade-level instruction in an advanced grade. Content-based acceleration can also refer to allowing a student to work on higher grade-level instruction in his or her regular classroom in lieu of grade-level instruction.
    2. Grade-based Acceleration includes strategies that typically shorten the number of years a student spends in the K-12 system. A student is placed in a higher-grade level than is typically given for the student's age on a full time basis for the purpose of providing access to appropriately challenging learning opportunities.

B. Framework for Accelerative Practices

  1. Content-based Acceleration
    1. Curriculum Compacting (K-12): A student is pre-assessed at the beginning of a unit of study or standard to determine proficiency on a specific curriculum standard. If proficient, the student should engage in advanced content and skill development in that area, or another area, while remaining in the current course of study. This accelerative practice focuses on enrichment within a specific content area for depth of knowledge.
    2. Dual Enrollment (6-12): WCPSS middle or high school students have the opportunity to take approved courses for high school credit at regionally accredited institutions including institutions of Higher Education (IHE), community colleges, NCVPS, and non-WCPSS secondary schools. Courses taken must provide opportunities not currently available to the student at the middle school or high school, including courses of an advanced or expanded nature. The base school will award high school graduation credit, and grades, when the official grade report for the course taken is received at the base school. Quality points will be calculated as defined in the WCPSS high school program-planning guide. The student's official high school transcript will include grades and credit earned through dual enrollment. For students in grades 9-12, the grades earned through dual enrollment will factor into the Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) and class rank.
    3. Advanced Placement (AP) (9-12): The AP program offers college-level coursework for students as early as middle school. AP exams allow students to earn university credit and/or advanced university standing based on the examination score. The state weighting system adds the equivalent of two quality points to the grade earned in the AP/IB course.
    4. NC Virtual Public School (NCVPS): NCVPS provides students the opportunity to enroll in courses that they cannot take at their local school. NCVPS offers high school and middle school credit acceleration course options.
    5. Individual Subject Acceleration (ISA)(K-5): ISA is the practice of assigning a student to a higher-grade level than is typical given the student's age, for the purpose of providing access to appropriately challenging learning opportunities.
    6. Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) (6-12): Credit by Demonstrated Mastery will be in effect beginning with the 2015-2016 school year. A student shall demonstrate mastery through a multi-phase assessment consisting of (1) a standard examination or a final exam developed locally, and (2) an artifact which requires the student to apply knowledge and skills relevant to the content standards. Based upon this body of evidence, a student may be awarded credit in a particular course without requiring the student to complete classroom instruction for a certain amount of seat time.
    7. International Baccalaureate-Middle Years Programme (MYP) (6-10): The MYP is a whole-school 9th-10th grade curriculum. After 10th-grade, students have the opportunity to enroll in the 11th-12th grade Diploma Programme, which fulfills all graduation requirements for North Carolina through an internationally-normed liberal arts curriculum
    8. International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) (9-12): Advanced students may participate in the IB program, if they have participated in the International Baccalaureate MYP program and by taking the corresponding university-level curricula. At the end of high school the student should complete an international examination, receiving advanced standing and course credits upon matriculation to university.
  2. Grade-based Acceleration
    1. Early Kindergarten Entry (EKE): A child who has reached his /her 4th birthday by April 16, may be participate in Kindergarten early, if he or she demonstrates an extraordinary level of academic ability and maturity. The child must meet specific requirements set forth by the LEA prior to conditional enrollment for entering kindergarten early. The process as outlined in WCPSS EKE documents must be followed to ensure the most appropriate placement decision is made.
    2. Whole Grade Advancement (WGA): WGA typically shortens the number of years a student spends in the K-12 system. In practice, a student is placed in a higher-grade level than is typical given the student's age on a full-time basis for the purpose of providing access to appropriately challenging learning opportunities. Grade-based acceleration is commonly known as "grade skipping," but it can include other means to shorten the number of years a student remains in the K-12 school system. The exception is early entrance to kindergarten, which does not shorten the number of years the student spends in the K-12 system but shortens the wait time to start school. WCPSS will provide whole-grade acceleration options to exceptional students that meet the standards set by the district. Students that do not meet the standards for whole-grade acceleration may be eligible to participate in other forms of acceleration.

      Students may be considered only if the following can be clearly demonstrated and confirmed, as defined by the Iowa Acceleration Scale 2nd Edition.
      1. Academic achievement in all areas of the curriculum.
      2. Intellectual ability
      3. Social and emotional maturity
      4. Persistence and motivation
      5. Acceleration is determined to be in the best interest of the student
    3. Early College High School: Early College means students take college courses at local colleges as well as the courses required to earn a high school diploma over a five year period. Early Colleges blend high school and college in a rigorous, yet supportive program, compressing the time it takes to complete a high school diploma and the first two years of college.
    4. Early High School Graduation: Early High School Graduation is the practice of facilitating the completion of the high school program in fewer than four years for the purpose of providing earlier than typical access to post-secondary educational opportunities.

Legal References: GS 115-364(d), 115C-150.5, GCS-L-004, GCS-M-001, Board Policy 5534, 6201,

Adopted: November 9, 2010

Revised: September 23, 2013

Revised: April 22, 2014