Grade skipping - is it completely a thing of the past? | Bub Hub
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  1. #1
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    Default Grade skipping - is it completely a thing of the past?

    Bear with me as this is going to be a long one. I never thought I’d seriously consider this as an option but due to a unique set of circumstances, I’m pondering if skipping a grade would be a good option for DD.

    DD is in Grade 3 of a 3/4 class in a small country school (150 sts). She started at the school this year. In her mid-year report she was marked 12m ahead in Reading, Number and Statistics, 6m ahead in Writing, Measurement and Thinking Skills and at level for everything else. (This is consistent with other years) She had a tough year for writing last year due to her teacher not being a great ‘fit’ for her and lost a lot of confidence, but seems to have it back so I will be curious to see how that reflects in her school assessments at the end of the year. In Naplan she was in the top of Band 6 (not in the arrow) for Reading, Grammar and Numeracy, on the average dot for spelling and above the ‘average’ shaded area for writing (high Band 5).

    DD has already made friends in grades 2, 3 and 4. The friends she spends most time with are in Grade 4 and one in grade 3, however there is one of these grade 4 friends that she is trying to distance herself from as this girl is very manipulative. DD has my height and, at 8 (turning 9 in Dec) has hit the beginning stages of puberty at the same stage as I did, so I’m assuming AF will arrive when she is 10-11 (started for me in Grade 5).

    She often comments about how people in her class think she is a grade 4 because she is as tall as them and does all the grade 4 work.

    She has good fine motor skills, is a fantastic swimmer and is becoming quite good at sports too. She’s a real artist, very creative and always collecting, making and creating out of found materials.

    Her weaknesses are that she gets upset if she can’t do something ‘right’ the first time. She’s always been quite emotional and has come a long way with building resilience and not sweating the small stuff. She can also be shy at first and seems to have inherited a bit of my anxiety. She’s also very easily distracted. We haven’t really helped these things by moving so much.

    She did Kindy in WA (4yo, 2.5 days PW) but moved to a new school for Pre-P and the start of Grade 1. Then we moved to Vic so she completed grade 1 and 2 at a school there, then changed again at the start of this year. So despite being on to her 4th school, she is still performing well academically and has always made a close little group of friends within a couple of months.

    So she’s not ‘wow – that’s miles ahead’ academically, but considering all the moving and everything else she’s doing pretty darn well. My concern is, if they keep the grades the same next year she will be a grade 4 in a 3/4 class. She has some grade 2 friends already from OSC, so socially it won’t be an issue, I just worry about her being unchallenged. She’s not especially mature minded and, while she stands out as a little immature against some of the grade 4s, she’s about on par with others (the ones she is friends with).

    A bit of background that may or may not be relevant. DH was ‘skipped’ at the end of primary school and academically coped fine but does feel it led to some bullying, but he was very short so would have stood out as younger starting high school. I was always a straight A student but had a close group of friends, so even though skipping was common back then it was never really an option for me as I wanted to stay with my friends.

    The high school she will probably attend has a SEAL program but I don’t predict that many of her grade 3 friends would get in as none of them are in the same reading or maths groups as her.

    Before I speak to her teacher about how she sees the school will be able to extend DD next year if she’s in a straight 4 or a 3/4, I thought I’d seek some opinions and advice here. Does anyone here have recent experience with grade skipping? Pros or cons that I’m not looking at? Is it just not worth it?

    I feel like, as a teacher, I should just know what to do. However I’ve only taught children as ‘ahead’ as DD in grade 6 when they are about to start high school, so I’ve had to do a lot of in-class extension but skipping hasn’t even been on the cards. Therefore this isn’t something I have professional experience with either.

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    Honestly, no idea. I skipped grade 6 back in the late 90s, and it wasn't very common then (in SA). I was a pretty small kid, and probably not very socially mature, but I'm happy with how things worked out. From memory I was 2-3 years ahead in most areas, academically, when I was skipped. I wish I had the alternative path to compare though...I'd love to know what would have happened had I not skipped a grad. Obviously, the starting point would be to speak to her teacher. Hopefully you get some good advice there
    Last edited by Renn; 16-09-2016 at 20:54.

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    DD is similar. She's about 12 months ahead in maths, but around 3+ years ahead in literacy, reading, writing etc. She is also exceedingly hard on herself, nothing is good enough except being the best in everything. She's quite mature but also has the usual lazy and selfish traits of her age lol

    We've been lucky to have access to a gifted & talented program at our public. But I have ensured every year that her new teacher pushes her and has good ideas on how to give her extension work, particularly in literacy. Previous teachers have done a really good job at differentiating:
    * an extra page of homework (much to her disgust lol)
    * Being able to choose adult books to read, review, use in lit lessons.
    * Giving her extra tasks or outlets as she's an early finisher. Having a poetry journal etc.
    *Giving her leadership roles in the class where she helps others who are struggling when she is finished. Which of course helps to solidify the lesson for her, aids in her emotional intelligence, gives her an important role etc
    * Giving her free rein in projects to go deeper than others would.
    * Being in her own group for spelling so she can be extended (I expect your classes have spelling groups?)

    I skipped a grade and tbh I coped fine but even back then it was rare. Now it never ever happens. The one thing that stands out to be is while she sounds like a high functioning girl, she is only the maturity of her chronological age. Based on that, even if you could skip her, I wouldn't.

    I would ask for her not to be put back in a 3/4, but a straight 4. Of course as you fully know they don't and can't place kids based on what parents want, but I would talk to her current teacher about your concerns on her stagnating if she is in a 3/4 again. I would also work closely with her yr 4 teacher and beyond in coming up with ideas for how they can extend her. I'm rather unimpressed with DD's teacher this year as he keeps saying he will extend her then I ask DD and he never does. To me it's just laziness. A good teacher accommodates all abilities, strengths and areas of need of all students. So push to ensure they do that for your DD.

    Sorry for the novel
    Last edited by delirium; 16-09-2016 at 20:20.

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    I didn't think it was 'done' much at all. I'd be very interested to know what the teacher says.

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    My understanding (as a teacher, &I completed some PD in gifted & talented educaition recently), is that you should only skip a child ahead if they are already performing above the level they would be skippped into. So if she is currently performing at a level of grade 3-4, she shouldnt be skipped ahead. It would be only if she is performing more than 12 months ahead in all areas of her learning. If she is only performing 6 months ahead in some areas, she shouldnt be skipped ahead. I hope that makes sense. I would instead be checking how the teacher would extend her in class. It's not really the first option to extend a student - they should always be extended in-class first. A good teacher will be able to adapt to a wide range of abilities.

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    F because I'm curious. Though pretty sure my daughter is average

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    I don't have experience with this as a parent but as a child, I was supposed to skip. But it also happened around the time we were moving (I moved very frequently in schools) and the new school decided not to honour the recommendation (and it fact, very nearly dropped me a grade lower because of my age) so they chose to give me "extra credit" work and kept me at the year level I was in.
    I would think this would be the most likely option for your daughter, at least to start with anyway

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    Quote Originally Posted by cheeeeesecake View Post
    My understanding (as a teacher, &I completed some PD in gifted & talented educaition recently), is that you should only skip a child ahead if they are already performing above the level they would be skippped into. So if she is currently performing at a level of grade 3-4, she shouldnt be skipped ahead. It would be only if she is performing more than 12 months ahead in all areas of her learning. If she is only performing 6 months ahead in some areas, she shouldnt be skipped ahead. I hope that makes sense. I would instead be checking how the teacher would extend her in class. It's not really the first option to extend a student - they should always be extended in-class first. A good teacher will be able to adapt to a wide range of abilities.
    Thanks, this was my understanding as well, so that when they are in the year ahead they are still 'top of the class' (or nearly) and feel successful etc. One of my good friends in school was skipped ahead (so a year younger than me) and this was always the case with her.

    I guess what I see as a parent though is my DD generally just performs to the standard expected. For example, at 3 she was drawing heads with faces, arms, legs fingers etc at home but would come home from daycare with a range of 'artworks' where she had just scribbled on the page. I'd ask her and she'd just reply matter of factly "Yes, we scribble at daycare". I feel going into a 3/4 class has been great for her for that reason as it has set the bar higher. She's clearly loving it as well.

    Like I said though, it's more the whole combination of circumstances that has be me wondering about it, not just an academics thing.

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    Your DD sounds quite similar to my DD at the same age (now 13). My DD is oldest in the class due to WA cutoffs and in Yr3 NAPLAN had her dot in the arrow at the top in all literacy areas. Maths was above average. Emotionally and socially she was, and still is, advanced. I was worried that she would be bored or unchallenged and not achieving to her potential. Skipping was never an option (just not done unless super genius!) but I did make sure she had lots of extension work. She also did all her homework at school, under her own steam, as I don't like doing homework at home...I prefer after school for sport and family.
    I would be more concerned about her social/emotional development than anything. If she is working 12mths ahead that should be easy enough to handle with classroom extension work.


 

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