If a student is pretty far ahead of her classmates academically is it ever a bad idea to have her skip a grade?


Carrie Hagen, Nonfiction Writer and Researcher, Teacher

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I suggest asking your son/daughter's guidance counselor if you could have the name of the parent(s) of another student in the same situation who did skip a grade, or a class level, even if it isn't the same one that you are considering having your child skip. Ask that parent about the pros and cons, and perhaps ask if you or your child might speak to his/her child about the experience.

As a teacher, I also suggest that you talk to the (or a) teacher of the class your child would be moving into ... what would your child be missing if he/she made this move? What does the teacher see as beneficial? You might receive some unforeseen advice that would help you prepare for such a move.

Gina Badalaty, Parent of 2 kids with disabilities, Professional Blogger

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As someone who was skipped ahead in one class, math, in the 8th grade, I firsthand know the downside of this. At the time, although I was very good at math and was happy to be skipped ahead, by junior year I had had enough of it. I should have been strongly advised to take another year of math before college - classes that I don't excel in, such as statistics, but instead I opted to take a year without math to focus on more creative pursuits.

When I got to college and changed to a more technical major, I really struggled because I was out of practice with advanced math for too long. So skipping one class, for me, was a negative. However, if by skipping an entire grade, a student then either pursues courses that are required in college or attends college early or another type of school / cyberschool in the interim, I think it can be beneficial. A break in studies, however, can make a bright student fall behind or consider leaving her academic career before she should. As the other experts have mentioned, maturity is a big deciding factor as well. Is she dedicated to her studies? Does she have a career that she is already seriously pursuing?

University Tutor, World's largest global marketplace for independent tutors.

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Grade acceleration (or skipping a grade) isn't for everyone. As others have mentioned, your child's adjustment to a new grade would be academic, emotional, physical and social in nature. One question that you might ask yourself is, "How has my child reacted to change in the past?" If you've moved and transferred to a new school, did she quickly acclimate? If she struggled, it may be worth looking into supplemental resources - like academic extracurriculars, classes at a community center or online, or tutors - before you opt for grade acceleration.

Jill Berkowicz, Educator, Adjunct Professor, Author

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What a good question. Skipping a grade is a complicated issue to narrow down in general terms! The age of your child, the maturity of your child, the connection he or she has with his or her classmates, and most importantly...if your child is in elementary school....consider the long term. For example, if your child is in elementary school and is academically advanced and able to handle the work a year ahead, what affect will it have on his or her high school years? What will being a year younger as a teenager mean when the level of maturity to complete a team project or solve problems or present information is required? There is no way of knowing that. The other question to consider is when "skipping a grade" there are certainly skills and information that will be unattended. But, and this is a big but...if your child is truly advanced if he or she does not skip that grade...might they become bored and disengage from the school experience. As with all parental decisions, there are risks because we can't know the outcomes. Consider all the factors. Make your best judgment. Follow up with observations of your child's responses and continue the support and attention you are giving your child's education. Simply by asking this question your investment in your child's education is obvious. You will make the right decision, I'm sure.

Jennifer Oleniczak, Founder and Artistic Director of The Engaging Educator

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Agreed with above!

As someone who had an opportunity to skip a grade, was already one of the youngest in the grade - I was just fine with academic supplements. As the above expert noted, the social/physical developments are important to consider. What grade is she skipping? I think it's a bit easier if the grade is in the elementary space versus the middle school space, based on friendships/physicality.

Something to consider, regarding supplements - I took classes at a local community college. By the time I entered college, I was a sophomore because of credits as well as AP classes/tests. High school was pretty stressful, operating at the level I was, but I was never bored academically due to the advanced placement options my school offered, as well as their ability to send me elsewhere to further my education. Looking into theses options might be a great alternative to skipping a grade!

Nina Berler, College and Career Readiness Specialist

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Way back, when there was a firm and fixed deadline for registering in school, very bright students who were "old" for their grade skipped. We no longer hear much about it; parents often choose to hold their students back and start kindergarten later. As a result, the oldest students in a grade may have been born in the fall rather than the winter.

So for a girl ahead of her classmates academically, skipping can be an option, but you must also consider the average age and possibly even the average size of her possible classmates. If she socially, age-wise, and size-wise fits in well with her present class, I would recommend supplementing her learning instead. There have never been better tools, including online and distance learning and adaptive learning products. If she is old for the grade and not too attached to her friends, maybe skipping is the solution. Just keep in mind that she may then be smaller and younger than her peers but still bored academically and needing the supplements.

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