Curriculum Compacting and Achievement Test Scores: What Does the Research Say?

Sally M. Reis, Karen L. Westberg, Jonna M. Kulikowich, Jeanne H. Purcell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


This study examined the effects of curriculum compacting on the achievement test scores of a national sample of 336 high ability students from second through sixth grade heterogeneous classrooms in rural, suburban, and urban settings. Curriculum compacting is a strategy for eliminating curricular material that students have already mastered and replacing it with more appropriate learning activities. Teachers from three treatment and control groups in this experimental study selected one to two students from their classes who demonstrated superior ability and advanced content knowledge prior to instruction. They were able to eliminate between 40%-50% of curricula for these students across content areas. Pre and post student achievement was examined using the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and out-of-grade-level (one grade higher) tests were used to guard against ceiling effects. The results indicated that the achievement test scores of students whose curriculum was compacted did not differ significantly from students whose curriculum was not compacted. These findings from a national study minimize teachers' fears about declines in students' achievement test scores due to compacting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-129
Number of pages7
JournalGifted Child Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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