Whole Grade Acceleration
Whole grade acceleration 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 in all subject areas. Grade acceleration may be done at the beginning of the school year. Please note that applications for whole grade acceleration are only accepted between March 1 and May 15 of each school year.
Click below to learn more about whole grade acceleration.
District 97 Acceleration Process for Whole Grade Level Acceleration
- Family, teacher, and/or student attend the Acceleration Family Night or reach out to the school to learn about District 97’s acceleration process.
- Families, staff members, or any other referer fills out the school specific application form that can be found below in the application section on this webapge.
- Principal or MTSS Lead emails the MTSS Team members (teacher, Enrichment Specialists and/or other support staff), to review the application and begin section one of the Acceleration Rubric (rubrics linked below).
- The MTSS Team will then send the family a letter stating if the student data qualifies them to move on to section two.
- If data supports moving forward, the family will be sent times and dates for the End of the Year (EOY) Standards Based Placement Test that all students will take. Families will sign up for a Saturday testing time.
- Simultaneously, MTSS teams will also be completing Section 2 of the Acceleration Rubric. Once all information and data is collected, teams will notify the families to let them know the rubric results.
- Scores and Next Steps:
- 90% or More of the Total Points: Student will bypass School Psychologist testing and move to acceleration for the following year
- 75% or more of the Total Points: Student will move on to test with a school psychologist
- 1:1 cognitive and achievement testing for K-2 students
- Group administered cognitive and achievement tests for 3-8 students
- 74% and Below of Total Points: Student does not qualify for acceleration for the following year.
7. If a student qualifies, the MTSS team, building leadership, and the family will meet to determine acceleration placement before the end of the year and create a transition plan.
8. A staff member (MTSS lead, building leadership, or homeroom teacher) reaches out to families before the beginning of the year to share their schedule for the school year.
The district has established a collaborative process for evaluation. This process ensures that families are a part of our team, as well as students when appropriate. Teachers, families, students or administrators can request that a student be single-subject or whole grade-level accelerated. District 97 staff and school administrators are responsible for evaluating referrals. Applications are only accepted between March 1 and May 15 of each school year.
To start the application process, please submit an application form (below).
Once a request is made, the referred student’s principal or designee will convene the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) Team to review a variety of data sources representative of the student’s academic performance. Continuing this year: One of the data sources reviewed MUST be the results of the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) in English Language Arts and Mathematics for students who are grade eligible to take the assessment. The IAR is a measure of the mastery of grade level standards and is required for the MTSS team to determine eligibility for whole grade acceleration. Additional information about the IAR can be found here.
The MTSS team shall evaluate all students who are referred for possible acceleration and whose family or legal guardian(s) have granted permission to evaluate the student for possible accelerated placement. The team will analyze multiple criteria from a body of evidence, resulting in a profile of strengths, needs and interests of the child. Test scores alone will not determine acceleration.
The MTSS team may be comprised of, but not limited to, the following:
- A principal or assistant principal from the student’s school;
- A current teacher of the referred student for whom acceleration is being considered;
- A teacher at the grade level to which the student may be accelerated;
- A school social worker and/or school psychologist if requested by the school MTSS Lead and/or building administrator;
- An enrichment specialist;
- A family or legal guardian of the referred student or a representative designated by a family or legal guardian;
- The student, if age appropriate and with family/guardian permission.
The school’s MTSS Team will conduct a fair and thorough evaluation of the student using a researched assessment tool, such as the Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS), and a variety of data sources, including but not limited to:
- An assessment of the mastery of grade level standards (IAR PARTICIPATION IS REQUIRED)
- Out-of-level achievement test(s) and/or content area aptitude assessment(s);
- Measurement of ability, measured by an intelligence (IQ) assessment
- Consideration of the impact single subject/whole grade acceleration may have on future coursework and long-term academic planning;
- Consideration of the student’s maturity and own thoughts on possible accelerated placement.
All criteria must be considered in making the determination for acceleration; test scores alone do not meet the standards of a determination. A student may score at the 90th percentile or above on aptitude and achievement tests but not have data that supports school readiness. Every student with a score above 90th percentile may not benefit from single-subject or whole-grade acceleration.
Acceleration decisions will be based on the district's rubric system. In the case of an appeal, the district's assistant superintendent of elementary or middle schools shall make the final decision in accordance with the district's single-subject or whole-grade program plan. The decision as to whether a student qualifies for single-subject acceleration or whole-grade acceleration is at the sole discretion of the district.
Once a decision has been made, the school will reach out to the student's family indicating recognition and support of the student's placement.