The previous generation would allow students who were excelling to skip
a grade. The thinking behind it was that students who are way ahead of
the curve, get bored in class and become listless. They get so accustomed
to being ahead of the others that they stop paying attention and that
may actually lead to poor academic performances down the line. Skipping
a grade comes with social consequences however, and these may actually
lead to bigger problems. If your student has an opportunity to skip a
grade, you have to consider very carefully what the right course of action is.
What to consider
Schools take a number of factors into consideration when weighing the suitability
of candidates including intellect, achievement, physical size, peers,
motor skills, and social and emotional development. Of course intellect
and achievement is probably what alerted them to the possibility in the
first place. Physical size is important because if your child is so much
smaller than their new peers, they may feel out and may not be able to
fit in socially.
The same goes for social and emotional levels. If your child prefers to
mix with adults or older students, skipping a grade may actually help
them feel like they can relate better to their new peers. If they have
firm friends in their current grade and enjoy a healthy, happy social
life, skipping a grade could have a negative impact on their social and
Get a professional assessment
Once you have the recommendations of the teachers and other professionals
at your student’s school, ask your paediatrician for a reference
to a professional education therapist. They will spend time with your
student to determine their abilities in all the pertinent areas from emotional
maturity to academic ability. Getting a professional opinion will help
you to make an informed decision.
Gifted students can be quirky and you must be sure that they can handle
the social and emotional changes. If they can’t, moving a grade
may keep them academically engaged, but the social and emotional toll
may be too high. However, if you don’t move them, they may suffer
academically and fail to reach their full potential. The dropout rate
for gifted students is much higher than the average because of problems
adapting socially and academically.
There are alternatives to skipping a grade that bridge the gap for students
who are academically gifted. Some schools allow gifted students to skip
subjects rather than grades. This means that if your child is in second
grade, but is reading at a fourth grade level, they can join a fourth
grade class for reading, but stay in their own class for the rest of the
day. Students who are gifted can also join advanced classes where their
particular academic needs are fulfilled. Students can take extra lessons
with tutors who help to challenge them academically while keeping them
in the same grade.
Discuss your options with your student, your teachers, principal, education
tutors to find the very best solution for your student. Constantly monitor and
reassess the situation so that you are able to provide the most suitable
solutions as their needs change.