Acceleration

  • OCS offers several opportunities for acceleration when there is a demonstrated need. This includes early entrance to kindergarten and first grade, whole grade level acceleration, single subject acceleration, Credit by Demonstrated Mastery, AP and IB courses, and dual enrollment at an institution of higher education.

    Early Entrance to Kindergarten and First Grade: The district process for early entrance to kindergarten and first grade is outlined below. Visit our enrollment page to learn more

    Families who wish to enroll children in kindergarten who are not yet 5, or enroll their children in first grade who are not yet 6, by the August 31st cutoff date may pursue this option. The steps for early entry are outlined below:

    1. Parents/guardians contact the district AIG facilitator in writing to indicate their interest in early entry to kindergarten or 1st grade.
    2. The AIG facilitator conducts a phone call or in-person meeting with the parents/guardians to discuss the early entry process.
    3. The parents/guardians arrange for required testing and documentation to be completed. Parents/guardians are responsible for any costs related to testing and documentation.
    4. The child visits the school to participate in activities for the grade they wish to enter. A kindergarten or first grade teacher will administer additional assessments.
    5. All documentation is shared with the AIG facilitator. The AIG facilitator and the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction review the documentation and make a placement recommendation to the receiving school principal.
    6. The parents/guardians meet with the principal of the receiving school to learn the placement results.

    Whole Grade Acceleration (K-8 only): For whole grade level acceleration in elementary and middle school, the Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS) is used to determine student readiness. The IAS examines student aptitude, achievement, and social and emotional readiness. The steps for whole-grade level acceleration are outlined below:

    1. Parents/guardians notify the principal and the AIG specialist in writing that they are interested in whole grade level acceleration.
    2. The principal and the AIG specialist meet with the parents/guardians to explain the whole grade acceleration process. If requested by the principal, the district AIG facilitator may be present at the meeting.
    3. Testing is conducted by an Orange County Schools psychologist. If the parents/guardians choose, they may have the testing conducted by an independent licensed psychologist at their expense.
      1. Guidelines for Independent Evaluation  
    4. Additional data is gathered from classroom teachers and parents/guardians.
    5. The AIG specialist (and, if requested, the AIG facilitator) review the data and make a placement recommendation to the principal. It is recommended that students receive a score of 46 or higher on the Iowa Acceleration Scale to be recommended for whole grade level acceleration.
    6. The principal and AIG specialist meet with the parents/guardians to learn the placement results. If requested by the principal, the district AIG facilitator may join this meeting.

    Single Subject Acceleration: Single subject acceleration is available for grades 3-8 in reading and math. In grades 3-7, students may single subject accelerate in one area only; students who need acceleration in both areas should pursue whole grade level acceleration. In grade 8, students may accelerate in more than one subject.

    ELA Process

    Grades 3-7

    Step 1: Parent/guardian must submit a written request to the principal.

    Step 2: Student completes a 2-phase assessment of skills:

    • Phase I: Demonstration of mastery: Student must score 90% correct or higher on a reading test of the grade level they wish to skip.

    • Phase II: Writing sample: Student must score proficient on a rubric of the grade level they wish to skip on a writing sample.  

    Step 3: The assessment data is shared with the principal.

    Step 4: The principal makes a placement decision, and a results letter is sent to the parent/guardian.

    Grade 8

    8th graders who demonstrate strong performance on their 7th grade reading end-of-grade test and strong work in class are placed in English I, a high school level English course, in 8th grade.

    Math Process

    Grades 3-5

    Step 1: Parent/guardian must submit a written request to the principal.

    Step 2: Student completes a 2-phase assessment of skills:

    • Phase I: Demonstration of mastery: Student must score of 90% correct or higher on a math test of the grade level subject they wish to skip.

    • Phase II: Performance task: Student must complete a series of math tasks and score proficient on a rubric of the grade level they wish to skip.  

    Step 3: The assessment data is shared with the principal.

    Step 4: The principal makes a placement decision, and a results letter is sent to the parent/guardian.

    Grades 6-8

    Orange County Schools offers compacted math pathways for students who meet the criteria of the district math placement policy.

    Compacted Pathway 1:

    • Grade 6- Math 6 or Math 6 Plus

    • Grade 7- Math 7 or Math 7 Plus

    • Grade 8- Math I (high school course for credit)

    Compacted Pathway 2 for highly advanced students:

    • Grade 6- Math 6 Plus OR Math 7 Plus

    • Grade 7- Math I (high school course for credit)

    • Grade 8- Math II (high school course for credit- taken via NCVPS.)


    Credit by Demonstrated Mastery

    Middle and high school students may apply to earn credit for eligible high school courses without having to complete the seat time in the course through the Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) process.  For more information please visit our Credit Demonstrated by Mastery page

    Dual Enrollment Opportunities

    High school students may earn college credit via dual enrollment:

    • College and Career Promise (CCP): Career and College Promise (CCP) provides seamless dual enrollment educational opportunities for eligible North Carolina high school students in order to accelerate completion of college certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees that lead to college transfer or provide entry-level job skills.
    • Middle College High School at Durham Tech: Middle College High School (MCHS) at Durham Technical Community College is an opportunity for 11th and 12th grade students to earn college credit while in high school. Located on Durham Tech’s campus, MCHS consists of approximately 150 students from three school districts: Durham Public Schools, Orange County Schools, and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.  You can learn more about MCHS here.
    • Dual Enrollment: Dual Enrollment is a plan which allows high school students to meet the requirements for high school graduation while at the same time earning college credit during the regular school day.  Orange County Schools is currently involved in partnerships with two post-secondary institutions: Alamance Community College and Durham Technical Community College. These institutions will offer mutually agreed-upon courses for dual credit to eligible students during the fall and spring semesters of each academic year.  Interested students should see their guidance counselor for more information.

    Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB): Students have exposure to college-level material in a variety of AP and IB courses. Students may also have the opportunity to earn college credits for AP or IB courses, depending on their exam results and the policies of the college or university they will attend. AP courses are offered at CRHS and OHS.  IB courses are offered at CRHS only. You can learn more about AP and IB in the curriculum and course registration page.