Too often, in today’s public education system, students fail to reach their full potential because they aren’t receiving the education they need and deserve. This is more true for students with unique abilities – children living with autism, profoundly gifted students, twice-exceptional learners, kids with mental heath diagnoses, and those with learning disorders. They deserve better and can achieve more.


The Untapped Potential Project is urging lawmakers to invest in our unique learners and provide all children with the best education possible by supporting SB 1223 – Accelerated Placement Act.

The Problem

73 percent of Illinois school districts do not have gifted programs

  • High-ability students in these districts lack access to the programming they need to thrive

A majority of districts do not accelerate students:

  • 56 percent do not allow students to enter kindergarten early
  • 55 percent do not allow students to enter first grade early
  • 46 percent do not allow students to take above grade-level classes
  • 90 percent do not allow students to skip grades
  • 41 percent do not allow students to graduate early

When districts do accelerate students, many rely on outdated processes that are not in line with best practices

The Solution

Implement a statewide acceleration policy

  • Allow students in any school district to enter school early, take classes above grade-level, skip grades, and/or graduate early
  • Standardize district acceleration processes in line with best practices

The Research

Read the report on the state of acceleration policies in Illinois. Presented by the Illinois Association for Gifted Children and UPP.

The Data

Look at the data on acceleration policies in Illinois collected through district board policy manuals and FOIA requests.

The Bill

Read the latest amendment to SB1223 – the Accelerated Placement Act

Why it Works

Acceleration benefits high-ability students academically

  • A recent study that comprehensively reviewed almost 100 years of acceleration research, covering nearly 172 empirical studies, found that when high-ability students were accelerated they exceeded the academic achievement of their non-accelerated, high-ability peers by nearly one-year on a grade-equivalent scale

Acceleration benefits high-ability students socially and emotionally

  • Research shows few negative effects of acceleration – a large majority of students thrive socially and emotionally, and many wish they’d been accelerated more

Acceleration is cost-effective

  • Accelerated students can complete their education in less time, thereby saving the state and districts money
  • Time commitment of principals and teachers is minimal
  • Evaluation materials are inexpensive


The Untapped Potential Project is urging lawmakers to invest in our unique learners and provide all children wit the best education possible by supporting improving Colorado Gifted Identification.

The Problem

Black, Latino, low-income, and ELL students are underrepresented in Colorado’s gifted programs:

  • Black students: 49.1 percent
  • Latino students: 45.3 percent
  • Low-income students: 50.3 percent
  • ELL students: 73.7 percent

Not all students are universally screened:

  • 72% of 3rd graders are universally screened
  • 31% of 6th graders or higher are universally screened

The Solution

Fully fund Colorado’s Gifted Education Universal Screening and Qualified Personnel Grant

Why It Works

Universal screening – the testing of all students at a particular grade level – is the most effective mechanism to address under-identification of minority, low-income, and ELL students

  • When Broward County, Florida instituted universal screening, there was a 180 percent increase in the gifted rate among all disadvantaged students, with a 130 percent increase for Latino students and an 80 percent increase for black students