Behavior

How to Skip a Grade

Are you wondering how to skip a grade or what are the requirements for my child skipping a grade?

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How to skip a grade

It’s common for some kids to start learning a lot earlier than other children, and by the time all these kids enter school, the ones who were exposed to educational games and activities early on could be well ahead of other students. When children seem to be far, far ahead of the other kids in the class, parents tend to ask about skipping ahead by a grade or so.

Schools have done a lot to increase the options for children who seem ahead of the rest of their class, so skipping isn’t the first choice in these situations anymore. But it can still happen, and it can bring with it advantages and some distinct disadvantages, too.

Factors of skipping a grade

First, do not test the child’s IQ and then insist the child skip a grade based on that. While having a high IQ number is a nice bit of trivia, it isn’t the only determining factor of how well the child is doing. Skipping ahead a grade sounds nice, but it brings a big social adjustment with it.

So you have to look at how moving a younger child into a classroom filled with older kids is going to play out. There are social factors that the older children have learned that the younger child hasn’t, as well as physical size and coordination factors. There’s also standardized testing to take into account as you have to be sure the younger child would be able to perform decently on those tests. As hated as standardized tests can be, they’re a fact of life in schools, and you don’t want your child to end up getting a terrible score because he or she lacks part of the knowledge that the older children have.

Emotional effects are also a factor. Extroverted, friendly kids who are confident might love the challenge and the transition. Introverted kids who don’t have the emotional backup to stand up to bullying older kids might end up in a much tougher situation.

When is an appropriate time for grade skipping?

Let’s say the school agrees that your child should skip a grade. It’s best to do this at the start of the school year. It’s less disruptive socially and emotionally, and it gives you and the child the summer break to work on subjects that the child would have learned in the grade that’s being skipped. It also helps preserve school-year bonds that your child might have formed with the teacher and classroom aides. Moving a child into a new grade mid-year can be highly confusing.

Criteria for skipping a grade level

There’s already a social issue to deal with, and that’s the fact that most of the kids in the older grade will have known each other for a while. Don’t complicate factors by forcing your child to suddenly jump into this social group in the middle of the year.

The child’s birthday and age, as well as the state cutoff for placing children in different grades (i.e., children born after a certain date in the year might be held back to start school with children born in the next year), also plays a role. There is a vast difference in maturity between a child born at the beginning of a year and one born at the end of the year. Younger children may find it a lot harder to adjust socially.

How can my child skip a grade?

It really may be better for you to look at advanced offerings within the child’s current grade. Elementary schools often have gifted-student programs that keep the children in their age-appropriate classes but offer advanced learning opportunities.

High schoolers can take honors and advanced placement (AP) courses, and some may be eligible for community college offerings that will transfer to their college transcripts.

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Is there anything I need to know?

There’s no one national policy on skipping a grade, so parents who want to investigate this option need to look up their state’s specific policy. Look for terms like “acceleration.” In fact, you can find institutes that list state policies and that give you starting points that you can use to begin the process.

Keep in mind, too, that private and public schools are going to have slightly different attitudes about skipping a grade. Private schools tend to be smaller, so students may have more friends in other grades; this would make the social transition a little easier in many cases, and it can also make the school administration a little friendlier toward skipping a year.

What are the requirements to skip a grade?

You’ll have to specifically request an evaluation to see if your child can skip. At this point, another IQ test might be needed as well as more evaluations to see how well the child is doing socially. Your child may need to be put in a special program that monitors his or her performance in school even after being placed in the new grade.

The last thing you or the school want is for the child to skip and then fail or suffer other problems. These individual education programs help guide the child and see how well the new grade is working out.

Grade acceleration checklist

Keep in mind that skipping a grade is not just an issue for the child or the school. You need to stay involved in the child’s education as well. This type of acceleration requires a team to help the child and be sure he or she is in the right classes.

If you want to know more about skipping a grade, contact the school and ask about their procedures for handling children who may need advanced classes. Investigate all options and work with the school — and your child — to determine the best course of action. The right path opens up great opportunities.