New meta-analysis: Should I grade-skip my gifted child?
Anecdotes versus research
There are several anecdotes in the answers already provided. These are interesting, but do not provide a balanced view of grade skipping.
The referenced article provided in the question summarizes much of the research that has been conducted on grade skipping to date. If you read the reference, the answer to the question is clear – the research overwhelmingly supports grade-skipping … when it is administered appropriately.
The article even points to the gold standard for deciding whether or not to skip a grade – the Iowa Acceleration Schedule (IAS).
The seminal report on acceleration, which was published in 2004, is also referenced in the article. A follow-up report, summarizing additional research, was published in 2015. One of the authors of the referenced article was an author an the original reports.
Grade-skippers were found to be significantly more likely to achieve Ph.D.‘s, publish their first paper at an earlier age and achieve highly cited publications by age 50. Grade-skippers compared to non-grade-skippers were 1.6 times as likely to earn a doctorate of any kind, twice as likely to earn a STEM Ph.D., 1.6 times as likely to earn a STEM publication, and 1.6 times as likely to earn a patent.
Who should skip a grade?
The IAS provides a checklist for determining the appropriate candidates for acceleration. The scale includes:
- school history & summary of professional evaluations
- assessment of ability (essentially IQ)
- assessment of aptitude (performance tests like ITBS or ACT)
- assessment of achievement (e.g. Woodcock-Johnson III)
- school and academic factors
- developmental factors
- interpersonal skills
- attitude and support (family and school)
In addition to evaluation of the above, there are several criteria that can immediately indicate NOT being accelerated:
- IQ less than one standard deviation above mean
- acceleration would result in placing the student into the same grade as a sibling
- student presently has a sibling in the same grade
- student indicates he/she does not want to be accelerated.
The decision to accelerate is an important one, and should be evaluated carefully. However, if grade skipping is deemed appropriate, the research is overwhelmingly positive.
I also agree with Amanda Glover – a school for advanced children, or homeschooling may be better choices.
In our situation, the local school system made it perfectly clear that skipping grades was not an option. I think it is appalling that (as mentioned in the article) only one percent of students currently skip grades, while 29% would benefit from acceleration. It’s time for our educational leaders to re-evaluate the policy of having students proceed through the educational system in age lockstep.