Curriculum compacting is mainly useful for gifted and highly able students who already know some or all of the content in a given regular curriculum unit.

The process of curriculum compacting at its simplest contains these steps:

  1. Pretest students in selected objectives to determine level of mastery.
  2. Select alternate activities (extension, enrichment, or acceleration) to replace regular instruction in areas already mastered.
  3. Monitor progress in alternate activities.

For more information, see these resources:

Two Paths to Knowledge
What Is Curriculum Compacting?
Curriculum Compacting at the University of Connecticut (contains more detailed steps and tips for implementation)
Curriculum Compacting at the Teacher Professional Development Sourcebook

A helpful tool is this simple chart called "The Compactor", developed by Joseph Renzulli and Linda H. Smith:

Areas of Strength
Documenting Mastery
Alternate Activities
"Name It"
"Prove It"
"Change It"
List specific content or skills here for each individual student
What pretest or other assessment have you done to document the student's understanding or ability?
Develop new activities related to the same skill area to extend, enrich, or accelerate instruction