This morning I read the Belin Blank Institute's Visions Newsletter. Belin Blank, a part of the University of Iowa, is dedicated to the advancement of gifted children. They are the ones who published A Nation Deceived 15 years ago and it's followup A Nation Empowered more recently. This was a study of the use and effectiveness of acceleration as an approach for educating gifted children. It was eye-opening as their research proved the the common wisdom prevalent in the educational community - that acceleration was harmful to children - was unfounded. While acceleration is not necessarily the best way to support all gifted students, it is certainly one of the most cost effective and thus one of the most accessible. Gifted programs for all children would still be preferable, but not readily achievable.
Belin Blank created the Iowa Acceleration Scale years ago. This instrument is still in use. It helps educators and parents evaluate whether a a student is a good candidate for whole grade acceleration. They have now formed The Acceleration Institute, to further their research into this area, and look at alternative types of acceleration. They have a page on their website which explains the 20 types of acceleration that could be useful to gifted students that I think could be helpful to parents evaluating how to address their child's educational needs: