This study examined the self-concept and social status of accelerated and nonaccelerated students in their first 2 years of secondary school in the Netherlands. In 357 students from 18 secondary schools, we measured self-concept, sociometric status, and behavior reputations at three times. Accelerated students had more positive self-concepts concerning school in general and mathematics than nonaccelerated students, but a less positive social self-concept. In girls but not in boys, the difference in social self-concept of accelerated and nonaccelerated students was no longer present at the end of the 2nd year. Accelerated students had a lower social status than nonaccelerants and were considered to be less cooperative, humorous, helpful, leading, and social. peer ratings were more negative for accelerated boys than for accelerated girls. Implications for the education of accelerated students, including the social emotional development of accelerated students in their 1st years of secondary school, are discussed. Putting the Research to Use: In this study, we found that accelerated students have a more positive academic self-concept than their nonaccelerated classmates. We also found, however, indications that accelerated students, especially boys, in their first two years in secondary school (Grades 7 and 8 in the U.S. secondary educational system), have a more negative social status than their classmates. Many empirical studies and practitioners' experiences with gifted students point at the benefits of acceleration and the negative consequences of not accelerating a child. So, to abolish acceleration is not a realistic option. We should, however, take into account that accelerated students might have a more negative social status than their classmates. Knowledgeable teachers, with a positive attitude toward accelerated students, should be alert about possible prejudices of classmates and should aim for an accepting, tolerating climate in the classroom.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology