The Identification Process for Accelerated Placement
Students are identified for the Accelerated Program for grades 3rd through 8th. The identification process is a two step process. The first step consists of screening the general population of students. The second step consists of selection for placement in the Accelerated program.
Achievement test scores, ability test scores, and teacher observations are used as part of the identification process. This information is compiled into learning profiles of students to determine eligibility. Eligibility is based on trends and patterns over time and not one data score. Each year student learning profiles are re-evaluated at the elementary buildings. Parents are informed of their child's status for Accelerated placement for the following year in a letter sent home in May.
Upon entering middle school, the two 5th grade elementary populations are merged as a new 6th grade population due to the nature of the program and the shift in the educational environment. Each year learning profiles are re-evaluated at Westfield Middle School, and parents are informed of their child's status for Accelerated placement for the following year in a letter that is sent home in May. At the end of every school year, all students in District 13 are screened for eligibility and may enter the program the following year.
Learning Profiles and Z-Score Calculations
Data included in student learning profiles consists of Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests, Otis-Lennon School Ability Tests (OLSAT), and teacher recommendations. For MAP testing, data from spring of the previous school year, along with data from the fall and spring of the current school year, are included. MAP testing looks at a student's achievement levels. There is no ceiling on this test, so it allows students to test above grade level when their abilities allow them to. For OLSAT testing, two years of data are included. OLSAT testing looks at a student's cognitive abilities which includes abstract thinking and reasoning ability. When looking for candidates for the Accelerated Program in Bloomingdale District 13, we are looking for students who excel in BOTH the achievement testing and cognitive ability testing.
Once data is collected for students, Z-score calculations are determined to normalize data for placement in the Accelerated Program. A Z-score calculation takes each student's individual scores from MAP tests and OLSAT tests minus the average mean score from those tests divided by the standard deviation for those tests. The average mean scores and the standard deviations are taken from the local population. In other words, the average mean scores and the standard deviations are taken from the grade level and the school for that particular student for that particular test. In addition to the Z-scores, teacher input is considered and factored into placement decisions.
The Z-score calculations show which students are most discrepant from their peers and which students are in strong need of something "different" from grade level curriculum. In accordance with Illinois School Code - Article 14, placement in the Accelerated Program targets the TOP 5% local population per grade level, 3rd-8th. The diagram below shows how students receive differentiation and Accelerated opportunities based on academic needs and learning profiles.