Does skipping a grade help gifted students, or harm them?

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I was skipped 2 grades in

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I was skipped 2 grades in elementary school, and was labeled "gifted." I wouldn't wish that experience on anyone. But it was more complex than just the skipping of the grades; my family situation and the neighborhood I grew up in were huge influences as well in the situation.

I've got 3 big issues with the way multiple choice answers are worded to this question:

1) Grades do not match abilities.
The issue is not what grade a student is in; the issue is what rate the material is coming at the students at, how fast they absorb it, and what rate their classmates are also engaged to absorb it. Classes MUST be taught to the lowest person in the room. It makes as much sense to put a 3rd grader with a 160IQ in a 4th grade class with 30 other kids at 80-120IQs, as it does to take Michael Phelps in high school and put him in an adult weight watchers fitness class because he's "gifted" and they're all older than him. The kid needed to go train with the best other swimmers and best coaches, and he did, and is now the most decorated olympian of all time -- go USA!

2) Labeling your kid "gifted" is worse for their social development than skipping them grades. An 80 IQ is not a 100 IQ is not a 120IQ is not a 160IQ is not a 200IQ. I know some, I'm not them, I know this the same way I know I'm not 7 feet tall. We don't label tall kids gifted because they could be better at basketball, we just measure their height. Someone who runs a 5 minute mile runs much faster than you, and is not gifted, and is also certainly no competition for someone who runs a 4 minute mile; neither person belongs in your fitness class, nor a weight watchers class. If the goal is peak performance, put the kids at their level. Labeling your kid "gifted" is about the most ignorant thing you can do for them. What do you think it'd be like to be introduced to a room full of strangers as "gifted"? Hi, this is Mary, she makes more money than all of you she's gifted. Hi this is Susan, she has a billion dollar trust fund, she's gifted. Hi, this is Joe, his uncle owns the company, he's gifted. Hi this is Bob, he's younger than all of you, and I know many of you may be asking why he's here, and it's because he's better than all of you! He didn't fit in with the last group of kids, because he was better than all of them too. But maybe because you're all older than him, that will balance out with his being better than all of you, see, isn't he so "gifted" to be put in this situation by the adults in the room?

3) Consideration of age. Age matters very much, but not for development of academic skills. It's important to have a close age group for development of social skills, and a close desire and ability group for development of the rest. Higher performing kids shouldn't be skipped grades, they should be put in different classrooms or even different schools where they can be taught faster and in more depth, by teachers who don't feel threatened by them, and with peers who appropriately fit the word. That's called education tracking -- and we do it in sports, we do it academically at the university level, and some do it with their kids in K12 too. Canada does it in the classroom in grade school, as does Germany, and the wealthy in the USA do it voluntarily (somewhat) by sending their kids to private schools for K-12.

On a side note: we could really use some innovation in the K-12 curriculum. What do we want our young citizens to be proficient at by the time they graduate high school?

I was offered in the 3rd

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I was offered in the 3rd grade to go up to 5th grade instead of 4th. My mother, with her masters degree in education and my father, with his doctorate in education, both didn't want me to levee my peers. I always shown an extreme gift since a young age and i was always extremely social and confident. In 6th grade I wrote 6 letters to my principal about gifted students not being accelerated enough without any parent or teacher input to do so. Now as a 7th grader, I am in 2 8th grade courses at my public middle school, (SPANISH I) and the Algebra I course also offered also at our high school, and only a select few 8th graders take. My gifted and talented teacher as well as my principal had a meeting and decided that they wanted to send me to the high school next year. i am at the top of my class in all subjects so they find it would be best if I skipped. This discussion group has really helped the decision to be made because even though gifted children do have accelerated mind power, doesn't mean that they are ready in all aspects of there life, socially and emotionally, to skip a grade.

I was skipped from

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I was skipped from kindergarten to first grade and it was the worst thing that could possibly have been done to me. The fact is that I didn't have the emotional maturity to handle being with older kids, especially when puberty hit. I am childless, so this is not a decision I will have to make as a parent, but if I were a parent I would never consent to having my child skipped. Never.

The boredom argument doesn't really hold water. School was easy for me in grade school even after I was skipped. As I got older, school became increasingly more challenging and I found myself surrounded by students who with equal or better academic skills than my own, but that also would have happened anyway. There were simply no up sides to this experience and nothing but down sides. Sorry, I think the whole idea of skipping a grade is misguided.

Community Manager at Edutopia

Hi Rowan, welcome to the

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Hi Rowan, welcome to the Edutopia community. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Given that you partly agree with the decision to not skip eighth grade, does that mean you think there would've been a social and emotional toll? Just curious.

I'm all for this practice. I

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I'm all for this practice. I can remember being bored out of my mind especially in first grade, when my teacher would test us on the same 100 vocabulary words each week and would not give me harder material. I was devouring Roald Dahl and Harry Potter while we were supposed to be reading "easy readers" (Sally walked the dog. Sally was happy. etc). The school wouldn't accelerate me past first grade, so I ended up moving to a private school where I eventually skipped third grade. I've always been tall for my age, so perhaps that helps, but I only benefited from this skipping. I was actually recommended to skip eighth grade to move to high school, but my parents decided not to for social reasons (which I only partly agree with). Now I'm in my junior year of high school and still, I find I understand the work much faster than my friends do. Whenever people have problems with their homework/tests they inevitably come to me since I apparently have "all the right answers". I still find schoolwork rather easy and, despite being a year younger than everyone else in my class and the fact I attended a very poor middle school (not part of the public system) I'm at the top of my class.

Computer Science Ph.D. from California

My teachers joined together

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My teachers joined together during seventh grade and told my parents they thought it was best if I skipped a grade. I ended up skipping eighth grade and really felt I did not miss anything. I hated the slow pace and shallow depth of material covered in junior high. It was really not until college and grad school that I finally felt that classroom material was worth spending time on.

Two side notes, though. First, my parents are both educators and fantastic advocates. Whenever school material was just not deep enough (before and after the "skip"), they found ways to challenge my learning at home, which ultimately was the biggest help for me as a gifted student. Second, I never was very socially inclined. I feel like skipping could be hard for students who care a lot about fitting in socially. It's important to remember that gifted students are whole humans (not just brains on legs), and it is important to realize that they can be affected by being socially out of place as much as being intellectually out of place.

Just my two cents.

I only skipped one grade

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I only skipped one grade which was the 4th , for me it was a good experience as then i had one person to compete with as far as grades , she was a hard worker and she is classified now as one of the 100 most powerful women( regarding a certain Race ), after a while I started getting bored again because of the repetition maybe or the low pace of the learning process .So I think skipping is good for some kids .
The problem where I come from is that there weren't any methods of follow up in terms of a one on one teaching or special classes for similar kids , or even orienting the parents of how to efficiently do that follow up . But I say it's okay right ( if you think laterally ) , there is a benefit from every situation .

it depends

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I think it depends on the child, if the child is a confident child and strong in mind along with being smart enough to skip grades, then he/she should do so. Over all, the child should have a say in weather or not to skip. If it were me, i wouldn't want my parents, no matter how smart or caring they are, to decide for ME. If the child is gifted and smart, he/she should choose for themselves, even though the parent can disagree, i think it would be best as if the child him/herself had a say

My son just moved from second

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My son just moved from second grade to third grade. The school has no clue what to do with him. He reads at a 9th grade reading level and he is seven. Children who are gifted are often more advanced than their age classmates and will do better in the next grade because they are more like equals to them. Your son is being asked by the teacher then there is a reason. What are his reading and math levels at, are they at 5th grade, or are they at 4th grade, or are they well beyond? This is what you need to know to make this decision. When my son started school they wanted to place him directly into 1st grade because he knew everything in kinder. But, I said no because he had not learned how to write yet. He had memorized all the letter sound and number but he could not write any of them. He knew all of the numbers as well. Now in 2nd grade his behavior became a serious problem when he started getting extremely bored in class. He was leaving the class because he knew the material already. Acting out became an every day event. Then they had him him third grade for part of the day, and his behavior really improved. He was engaged in the classroom.

parent of a gifted child

You are right. its definitely

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You are right. its definitely very complex for the child as well as the parent of the child who seems to be helpless in engaging the child with challenges. I am facing this problem from the time my child was in pre-k. Now he is going to grade 4th this year.In grade 1 he was tested by the school and told that he can easily cross grade 5 ,but skipping that much is not healthy and skipping one grade is of no use as he will be bored again . He is the odd one in his class. He doesn't want anybody to notice him so he tries to hide his knowledge. He dreads going to school .
I would really appreciate if you would give me some insight in what to do next.

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