A longitudinal assessment of early acceleration of students in mathematics on growth in mathematics achievement

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11 Scopus citations


Early acceleration of students in mathematics (in the form of early access to formal abstract algebra) has been a controversial educational issue. The current study examined the rate of growth in mathematics achievement of accelerated gifted, honors, and regular students across the entire secondary years (Grades 7-12), in comparison to their non-accelerated counterparts. Using data from the Longitudinal Study of American Youth, hierarchical linear models showed that early acceleration had little advantage among gifted students, small advantage among honors students, but large advantage among regular students. Equity issues, especially gender, racial, and socioeconomic equities, are not a concern once regular students were accelerated, but there are serious concerns about racial gaps among honors students and both gender and racial gaps among gifted students once they were accelerated. Schools played an important role in early acceleration, with school context rather than school climate affecting accelerated students. Students, particularly regular students, having high achievement and attending schools with high average achievement were advantageous in early acceleration. Overall, early acceleration of students in mathematics benefits regular students significantly in terms of growth in mathematics achievement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-131
Number of pages28
JournalDevelopmental Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the American Educational Research Association which receives funds for its “AERA Grants Program” from the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics and the Office of Educational Research and Improvement under NSF Grant #RED-9452861. Opinions reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the granting agencies.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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