As we begin another school year, many children will be assessed and identified as gifted and talented students in our public schools. Some of these identified students might have the option to skip a grade or two. Some teachers and parents have mixed feelings about this. Is grade skipping a good thing for your gifted child? If so, will he or she be able to catch up with other students in the new grade level? These are genuine questions that demand honest answers. The dilemma here is that there are myriad of factors that play into giving an honest answer and not just one factor.
The decision to skip a grade or accelerate should not be taken lightly and should be approached with caution and care. Typically public schools place students by age in grade levels. The brain behind this is that curriculum must match a student’s abilities, potential and current performance level. On the other hand, what happens to the age and grade appropriate student who is not challenged at all by his or her current curriculum? Is grade skipping the answer to this type of student? To help make an informed decision, parents and teachers must consider the following factors:
– Consider student’s academic ability and achievement
– Is it a good time to accelerate the student?
– Is the age and school grade of siblings considering acceleration important?
– Consider non-academic, developmental characteristics such as physical size.
– Is the student not only socially-emotionally ready but academically ready?
– What type of support is in place at home and school if the student should accelerate?
– Are there other areas that student can develop more and advance in outside of academics?
– What would be the effect of keeping student in current grade and not accelerate him or her?
– Do the student’s interpersonal skills match up with his or her academic ability?
These are guide questions to help provide an honest answer if grade skipping is appropriate for your gifted child. As a routine, it is advisable to keep a portfolio of a student’s work (essays, summaries of books read, progress reports, achievement tests, and anything that gives information about your student’s abilities and competence). These can be helpful in making an informed decision to accelerate your gifted child or not.
Grade skipping or acceleration can be a tough decision to make for parents and teachers. Here in Tarrant County, each school district has a gifted and talented coordinator or Advance Academics consultant that will ensure your concerns as a parent is addressed to give you confidence in your decision process. Make use of all available resources to help you make an informed decision that will benefit your gifted child. The child’s overall well-being is what should take precedence over grade skipping or acceleration.
Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. – Ronald E. Osborn
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