Skipping 3rd grade? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 05-27-2010, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Any experience or advice on this?

Principal at DS's school suggested that he skip 3rd grade due to his performance level in 2nd grade. Our district has no gifted programs for elementary, so the alternatives would be to try to match him with a willing 3rd grade teacher, or to switch schools (which may be easier said than done . . .)

FWIW, he is probably average maturity/size/age, but really is advanced academically. I have such mixed feelings . . .
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#2 of 22 Old 05-27-2010, 12:21 PM
 
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The research I've seen shows that it often works very well.

The book a Nation Decieved is about this topic. The Iowa Acceleration Scale, is a form you and the teachers can fill out to get an objective answer to whether it is in your DS's best interest.

You may want to cross post in parenting the gifted child.

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#3 of 22 Old 05-27-2010, 01:01 PM
 
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How well will the single-grade skip meet his advanced academic needs?

If he is already at a much higher grade level, then moving ahead one grade may not help at all. Being disengaged and unchallenged in 3rd grade is just as bad as being disengaged and unchallenged in 2nd grade, if you are working at a 5th or 6th or 8th grade level.

It's especially unhelpful if the school and the teacher take the attitude that they've already exhausted accommodations by skipping him.

I would try to get a clearer picture of his ability level and achievement level - with gifted assessment, if available to you. I'd take that information to a meeting with the principal and teachers and explore possible accommodations with them, including skipping. That's not the only way to help a gifted student - and often not the best way.
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#4 of 22 Old 05-27-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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In our district they try to skip kids when they can first and put them in a gifted pullout second for the subject they are gifted in if that isn't an option. When I was in my Psychology for teachers class the research was saying that skipping doesn't have a negative affect on kids but I am sure there are anecdotal stories that contradict that.
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#5 of 22 Old 05-27-2010, 03:04 PM
 
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I would consider too his age in relation to his classmates. Does he have an early birthday, such that he's already older than most of the class, or does he have a late-year birthday, so that he'll wind up with children almost two years older? I would consider this because of social and emotional issues, largely, especially a few years down the line-- it's hard on boys when they are one of the last of their class/age group to enter puberty.

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#6 of 22 Old 05-27-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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My DD will be skipping 3rd grade. Right now she's officially in 2nd grade, although she does attend 3rd grade math and reading classes. My kids attend a school with multi-grade classrooms, and she will be skipping the last year of the 1st-3rd grade classroom and move up to the 4th-6th grade classroom next year.

We've been talking about this with her teachers for years now, and they feel she is a good candidate for skipping because:
-she already has friends in the classroom she'll be moving to
-she has become more mature and should be able to navigate the older grades (she definitely WASN'T mature enough to skip grades a year or two ago).
-and, of course, she's academically able to do the work- she would be bored out of her skull if she stayed in the 1st-3rd grade classroom again next year.

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#7 of 22 Old 05-27-2010, 03:45 PM
 
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My dd will be skipping 2nd and going into a 3-4-5 mix class. She is currently in a 1-2 mix class and has done 2nd concurrent with 1st. We are excited by the skip, as she will have a wider opportunity for learning and half her current class will also be in 3-4-5 classes, including her best friends. Does your ds have friends or potential friends that will be going into fourth grade too? Connecting over the summer with some of those kids might help the transition, also any camps or clubs that are mixed age with older kids might be good. We are hoping to do that ourselves over the summer as well as encouraging more independence, as dd is young for her class. Her school is K-12 so adjustments between middle school, high school, etc. won't involve changing schools. What are your options for middle school and high school? Does his current school (or potentially different school) have any mixed age classes? DD's school is a small public charter with no gifted program. She tested gifted in K, so a skip to 3-4-5 is a good solution for her. I would take the opportunity to skip, as I feel the positives outweigh the negatives for *most* kids, but you know your son the best.

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#8 of 22 Old 05-29-2010, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Some excellent suggestions here. Thanks, everyone.

I checked our district's website & there is a ton of info. about student support services for special ed. students, but nothing about gifted (except a brief mention at the high school level.) My sister teaches 6th grade in another state & thinks that our district *has* to test him if I request it & if he is gifted, they *have* to accomodate him. That is true in her state, anyway. I think I will call the district and ask about this.
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#9 of 22 Old 05-31-2010, 03:48 AM
 
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In general, skipping a grade in the 'middle' of elementary is much better than skipping during a transition year. For example, our middle school starts at 6th grade. So, for our kids, if they were to skip, 3rd or 4th grade would be a better choice than 5th. 5th grade is where they get them ready for middle school. 6th would also be a bad choice. My bias, then, is to skip a child earlier rather than later.

I would definitely asked that your child be tested. You can browse your district's website and look for the TAG (Talented and Gifted) or GATE (Gifted and Talented Education?) or whatever they call it.

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#10 of 22 Old 05-31-2010, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
I would definitely asked that your child be tested. You can browse your district's website and look for the TAG (Talented and Gifted) or GATE (Gifted and Talented Education?) or whatever they call it.
They just don't have any kind of gifted program for grades K-8 at all. Nadda. I am going to call the district anyway on Tuesday and see what they have to say.
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#11 of 22 Old 06-01-2010, 10:58 PM
 
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My oldest skipped 5th to enter middle school a year early and it has worked quite well. She is still in the TAG programming for all of the classes for which it is offered and is still testing in the 99th percentile on tests, so it hasn't been too much academically. Socially, it seems to have worked well too.

Like one of the early posters said, I'd make sure that they evaluate all pieces using a tool like the Iowa Acceleration Scale. Either way, the district should test him for TAG first b/c part of a well rounded decision includes having the ability scores, not just the achievement scores. The situations where it doesn't work out well seem to be those where all of the pieces (ability, achievement, social, etc.) aren't in place. From your brief description, it sounds like it should be something to consider at least. Good luck!
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#12 of 22 Old 06-02-2010, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just had it confirmed that our district does not do any kind of testing for giftedness. They only test for learning disabilities and the like . . .

Not sure where that leaves me now.
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#13 of 22 Old 06-02-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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Grade skipping has been a fantastic option for us. My oldest did a mid-year skip from kindie to 1st. It was not enough academically but it made continued accomodation much easier for her. It improved the social situation greatly. We did not have testing at the time but she was assessed at being 2 to 5 grade levels advanced all around. She's about to graduate from 8th grade and thriving.

It's not for all kids certainly. We rejected grade skipping my DS despite his abilities. DS has a late fall birthday and so entered kindie at 4-years-old. Most of the boys were red-shirted and already a full year or more older than him. DS is intensely social though not as self-confident as his big sister. He cares too much what others think and is too reactionary. He is very bright but seriously disorganized. We felt that a skip would move him faster through the "nurturing" teachers that he very much needed and into the higher grade teachers who would have less tolerance for his weak penmanship and need for reminders to actually TURN the homework he always does IN. Instead, we found him a specialty school with accelerated curriculum, GATE and multiple languages taught. He's almost done with 4th and I can tell you, I'm SOOOOOO glad he's not going into middle school next year. He's totally not ready for that!

Whatever you do, remember, nothing done cannot be undone. If you try and it doesn't work, well, then you'll know. Kids can adapt to anything as long as they have great parents on their side to listen to them.

Good luck!

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#14 of 22 Old 06-02-2010, 04:16 PM
 
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Oh, and you might try ordering the Iowa Acceleration Scale.

http://www.amazon.com/Iowa-Accelerat...5506473&sr=8-2

It may help you feel more comfortable skipping without test scores.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#15 of 22 Old 06-02-2010, 07:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
Oh, and you might try ordering the Iowa Acceleration Scale.

http://www.amazon.com/Iowa-Accelerat...5506473&sr=8-2

It may help you feel more comfortable skipping without test scores.
I respectfully disagree with the statement above. I really don't think that it is a good idea to skip a child without having test scores to support the skip.

I do agree that skipping isn't the thing for all gifted kids and we, like whatsnextmom, have chosen not to skip our other dd despite similar ability scores to her sister for a variety of other reasons. Having high ability scores (98th percentile and up composite is the minimum suggested by the IAS developers) doesn't absolutely mean that you should skip the child. However, not having scores at that place (or not knowing) is an absolute "no" according to the IAS.

OP, I'm in no way questioning whether your dc falls in that category, just saying that I, personally, would want to be sure before making the decision to skip a grade. The research in favor of grade skipping only exists when there is hard data that the child is in the top couple percentiles in terms of composite scores (full scale IQ or similar) and has the achievement and other pieces in place.
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#16 of 22 Old 06-02-2010, 08:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
Oh, and you might try ordering the Iowa Acceleration Scale.

http://www.amazon.com/Iowa-Accelerat...5506473&sr=8-2

It may help you feel more comfortable skipping without test scores.
Actually, the Iowa Acceleration Scale uses test scores as one of the diagnostics for determining whether a grade skip is reasonable. It also discusses other factors such as age, social development, etc. I just finished reading the manual.

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Just had it confirmed that our district does not do any kind of testing for giftedness. They only test for learning disabilities and the like . . .

Not sure where that leaves me now.
What about your state? What do you state laws say? Our state says "School districts shall provide educational programs or services to talented and gifted students enrolled in public schools under rules adopted by the State Board of Education" -- in other words, they're obligated to do something. What that something is left unhelpfully vague.

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#17 of 22 Old 06-02-2010, 08:31 PM
 
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I really don't think that it is a good idea to skip a child without having test scores to support the skip.
If this were a child entering kindergarten, I would certainly side with you. Many kindergarteners are advanced because they've had heavily enriched toddler/preschool experiences or just hit their developmental stride a little earlier. They may not hold onto their "lead" and regret the skip later on. However, this is a 2nd grader with 3 years of schooling under his belt. His teachers have had a good long look at how he learns and what he is capable of. Most of his classmates have "clicked" and hit that point where they start taking off academically and he's still a stand-out (and if the SCHOOL is reccomending a grade skip, you know he's a major stand-out.) Testing would be nice but it's not available and really, at this point, it isn't going to tell them anything they don't already know.

Like I mentioned, our first child skipped without testing. No one even questioned the neccessity of moving her up outside of us. She was 5, reading 5th grade level chapter books, writing book reports stronger than most 3rd graders, completed the kindie and 1st grade math curriculum the first 6 weeks of kindie and was clearly ready. Testing for that age range wasn't available in the school. Testing privately was more than a thousand dollars in our area which we couldn't swing at the time. She wasn't tested until she was 12 and waiting until then would have been disastorous for her. When the results came back, no one was at all surprised. We actually HAD testing for DS and he more than qualified in that reguard but it wasn't right for him.

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#18 of 22 Old 06-02-2010, 08:38 PM
 
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Actually, the Iowa Acceleration Scale uses test scores as one of the diagnostics for determining whether a grade skip is reasonable. It also discusses other factors such as age, social development, etc. I just finished reading the manual.
I know that test scores are part of the determination but it was my understanding that it took in many other considerations as well. Even without scores, it might help her to see how he lands in the other catergories. At his age, he's really not such an unknown. At his age, if the school is reccomending a skip and he fit the rest of the standards beautifully, it very well might be the right thing to do.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#19 of 22 Old 06-02-2010, 08:45 PM
 
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Here are the questions that I would want answered before making a decision -
Has this been done before?
If so, were the skips successful and why or why not? (I'd be trying to find out if there are teachers that like and work well with advanced kids -- maybe the existing 3rd grade teachers aren't as adept at differentiated curriculum and there's a really good 4th grade teacher they have in mind and any other type of issue that you might need to sniff out.)

I'd also want to ask if there's another option, such as having him go to 4th grade for math and LA (and any other subject that he's advanced with - maybe foreign language?) and keeping him with his age peers for the rest of the day. Although if you need to move up in the district, it might become a problem when he's old enough to go to the middle school/junior high building.

Have you spoken to your ds about this?

Is it too late for you to sit in on a 4th grade class to see what it's like?

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#20 of 22 Old 06-03-2010, 12:56 AM
 
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My son skipped 2nd without testing. He was far beyond what they were doing in second grade and it was obvious. Academically, it helped make the gap between what he was doing in school and what he was capable of doing smaller. He's also the sort of kid that isn't happy if he's not actively learning- and he will let you know about it.

It hasn't been without it's drawbacks though. I'm beginning to wonder if there are different challenges between girls that have skipped and boys that have skipped. His main challenges have been social. He's surrounded by very physical, athletic boys. There's a macho thing going on. He has had to deal with bullying. He has held his own very well, but he's not all that happy with the social situation at school. He is very mature, and his best friends have all been 1 to 1 1/2 years older than him even before the skip, but I do see a big difference between the world of a 9 1/2 year old and the world of nearly 11 year olds. A lot of the dissatisfaction could just be personality differences too. He's never been a rough and tumble ultra-sporty kid. He's more of an intellectual kid, but at the same time he's very aware of coolness and kid culture. I do know that not skipping would have had some serious drawbacks too- especially for a child that thrives when they are learning new things and being challenged. Another problem has been that the pace still remains an issue- he moved up, but the pace of learning hasn't changed.

It's a difficult situation to be in. I would try to look at all of the pros and cons and go from there. Good luck with your decision!
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#21 of 22 Old 06-03-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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I know that test scores are part of the determination but it was my understanding that it took in many other considerations as well.
Yes, it does look at other factors, but IQ scores are considered one of the "critical" pieces. A child who isn't at least 2 SDs above the mean (an IQ in the 98th percentile+) isn't even considered any further on the IAS even if s/he meets all of the other criterion. My understanding is that the newest version of the IAS will take a CogAT composite score in that range as well -- which is a lot less expensive than IQ testing although not as much a measure of innate ability as "developed abilities" as the CogAT publisher puts it.

I can't imagine that the school can't at least do a group aptitude test. That disagreement aside, I do like LauraLoo's suggestions. Knowing what the characteristics of other kids who've been suggested for skips by the school are and how frequently they suggest this might give you some interesting insight. Also knowing if their prior assessments of who should skip were "on" might let you know if they are giving you good advise as well.

Like the pp, we were the ones who had to be convinced to skip dd11 and we were approached by the school too.
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#22 of 22 Old 06-04-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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I fully support acceleration for children who merit it. Anecdotally, I found that as a teacher, I saw girls who were accelerated in middle school had an easier time fitting in than boys in the same situation (didn't encounter any kids who were accelerated while in high school so can't comment on that), socially.

Whatsnextmom, thank you for sharing your wisdom in your personal situation -- with one child who did and one who did not accelerate. I think it's essential for parents to know when it's "right" and when it's not -- there are a lot of factors to consider.

Anecdotally, both my brother and I were candidates for grade acceleration when we were in elementary school (and my brother, again in junior high). My brother skipped a grade, and was thrilled to do it. I was wholly against the idea for myself, and my parents chose not to; that was right for ME because my brother and I had very different experiences/objectives in school.

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