Why Early College Acceleration?

The mission of our nation's schools was once to merely produce a rank-order of students. Grades formed the basis of this sorting and selecting function. The need for elevated levels of academic competence has created a demand for schools driven by the expectation of high achievement for all.  Education should provide students with the strategies to reach their goals and a road map for how their preferred dreams can be attained (Stiggins 2010). Through job-embedded teacher collaboration, schools can provide the sustainable positive change that will transform the obsolete schools of today into the 21st century learning environments our nation needs.

In an attempt to distill the findings of research relative to acceleration on the performance of students, James Kulik and Chen-Lin Kulik of the University of Michigan found twenty-six studies that compared students who had been accelerated for a year with comparison groups of equivalent ability. The authors came to the following conclusions: "Talented youngsters who were accelerated into higher grades performed as well as the talented older pupils already in those grades. In the accelerated subjects, talented accelerates showed almost a year's advancement over talented same-age non-accelerated students" (Kulik 1984, 409-425). 
 
Over the last one hundred and fifty years, the world has dramatically changed; however American schools have not kept pace. We now live in a global society, more technologically advanced and diverse than our forefathers could have ever imagined. Our schools are changing very gradually, and improving as they change. The greatest difficulty lies in the fact that the rate of change in schools is inconsistent with the rate of change in the workplace and in developing nations. The low skilled factory jobs our schools were designed to fill, occupy an increasingly less significant proportion of the available employment. Thusly, our schools are in the awkward position of getting simultaneously better but further behind our emerging global competitors (Daggett 2008).