How Many Are Underchallenged?

Large number of students perform above grade level

In the United States, students are typically grouped by age into different classrooms. However, same-age students do not always perform at the same level. Using data from several states, as well as more national datasets, researchers estimate that between 20 and 40 percent of students perform above grade level in reading, and between 11 and 30 percent perform above grade level in math.

Number of Students Outperforming Their Grade Level

One common misconception is that many schools use various grouping strategies to help differentiate educational opportunity. However, differentiation efforts often focus on helping students who struggle, not students who excel. Moreover, such efforts may not meet the needs of students of performing well above grade level.

Take action

Parents: Find out what opportunities for academic acceleration are offered at your school and how eligibility for services is determined.

Educators: Do you know how many of your students score above grade level? Are these scores part of the process to determine access to acceleration or grouping?

Download our flyer about underchallenged students (PDF).