Teaching & Learning » Accelerated Program

Accelerated Program

“Accelerated placement” is the placement of a student at the instructional level that best matches that student’s needs by allowing access to a curriculum that is usually reserved for children who are older or in higher grades than the student. The Accelerated Placement Act requires Illinois public school districts to adopt and implement policies on acceleration including:

  • Early entrance to kindergarten and first grade
  • Individual subject acceleration, and
  • Whole-grade acceleration.
Accelerated placement is not limited to those students who have been identified as gifted and talented, but rather is open to all students who demonstrate high ability and who may benefit from accelerated placement. 


Full text of the Accelerated Placement Act can be found on the Illinois General Assembly website.


Bloomingdale District 13 believes in the maximum educational development of all students. Our academically talented students are entitled to programs and services supportive of their needs that extend learning beyond the core curriculum. It is essential that these students are provided with diverse, appropriate, and ongoing learning experiences and environments that foster their academic and social-emotional growth. We want students of District 13 to capitalize on their talents, express themselves in a meaningful way, become actively involved in their learning, and be a contributing member to their schools and community.


The Accelerated program provides differentiated programming that consists of enrichment and acceleration to challenge and extend the learning of those students who have been identified for placement in the Accelerated program. Accelerated students are individuals who require guidance in discovering, developing, and realizing their potentials as individuals and as members of society.

Students are identified for the Accelerated programing for grades 3rd through 5th. 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 and ability test scores are used as part of the identification process (see Z-Scores below), teacher feedback may be sought as well. 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 the Spring.

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 the Spring. At the end of every school year, all students in District 13 are reviewed for eligibility and are placed accordingly.

Learning Profiles and Z-Score Calculations

Data included in student learning profiles consists of Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests, Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), and teacher observations.  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. It is an adaptive assessment which allows students to test above grade level when their abilities allow them to. Two years of CogAT testing data are included. CogAT testing looks at a student's cognitive abilities which includes abstract thinking and reasoning ability. Accelerated programming in Bloomingdale District 13 considers students who excel against their peer group in both achievement testing and cognitive ability testing.

Once data is collected for students, Z-score calculations are used to determine placement in the Accelerated Program. A Z-score calculation takes each student's individual scores from MAP tests and CogAT 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 grade level and the school for that particular student for that particular test. In addition to the Z-scores, teacher input is considered in placement decisions.

The Z-score calculations illustrate which students are most discrepant from their peers and which students are in strong need of something different from the 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-5th. When data within the Z-score is found to be an outlier or there are only a few data points available, teacher feedback is sought.