May 7, 2024
Report Unveils Groundbreaking Research on Acceleration Strategies in Public School Districts


Chiefs for Change and the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy Unveils Groundbreaking Research on Acceleration Strategies in Public School Districts

Washington, D.C. — Chiefs for Change, in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy and the Louis Calder Foundation, announces the release of a pioneering research study focused on implementing acceleration strategies in public school districts. This study, led by Dr. David Steiner of Johns Hopkins, marks the first comprehensive examination of acceleration practices in middle school mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) instruction.

“Acceleration: Lessons from the Field” sheds light on the effectiveness of acceleration models in addressing learning disparities among students. Through meticulous documentation analysis, interviews with district leadership and school principals and multiple classroom observations, the student offers valuable insights into the nuances of implementing acceleration strategies.

Contrary to initial expectations, the study found that in districts that have been using new, high-quality curricula for several years, teachers in whole-class settings generally adhered closely to the curricula materials in mathematics and ELA. Additionally, students were frequently regrouped for differentiated small groups and individualized online instruction, a fundamental aspect of acceleration models.

The research, however, also uncovered the complex challenges of using timely data to ensure that student regrouping leads to effective instructional interventions. The study also uncovered significant variability in the rigor of whole-class instruction, even within the same school. Additionally, it turns out that principals were widely skeptical regarding the efficacy of digital platform online learning.

“Acceleration strategies are critical tools for addressing learning gaps and promoting educational equity,” said Robert Runcie, CEO of Chiefs for Change. “This research underscores the importance of deliberate implementation and continuous improvement efforts to maximize their impact on student outcomes.

Based on assessment data and observations, the study suggests that acceleration may be most effective for students who are moderately behind in their learning, typically up to a year. However, more intensive interventions may be necessary for students several grade levels behind.

This research reflects the shared commitment of Chiefs for Change, The Johns Hopkins Institute for Education and the Louis Calder Foundation to advancing educational equity and excellence for all students.

To read the entire study, visit