Skipping a grade: Easier said than done?

One of the only education plans outlined thus far by Gov.-elect Nathan Deal has been an elementary and middle school “Move On Ready” program that allows younger children to advance if they perform well on the CRCT, which Deal says advanced students should be allowed to take whenever ready.

We have discussed grade advancement here before and most folks seem to favor it, but I don’t see it happening much and typically only with parental push. (Thinking it over now, I realize that several of the students I know who skipped ahead had parents in the education field.)

One of the challenges seems to be that there are students who could be in a higher level math or reading, but may not be ready for more advanced science or foreign language. Or they may not be socially agile enough to jump ahead without emotional strife. It would seem a cafeteria-style approach would work better where a talented fourth grader could opt for a fifth grade math or a bright seventh grader could choose an eighth grade language arts class.

Here is a piece on the issue of advancing students by Ryan McCarl, a North Carolina high school history teacher and education blogger. I ran McCarl’s piece on the Monday print education page and wanted to share it here:

This fall Bachar Sbeiti, a gifted 10-year-old who has finished the Ontario, Canada, curriculum through the eighth grade, was refused admission to high school because of his age.

The district apparently did not consider any factors besides how many years had passed since Bachar’s birth in its decision.

No school official argued that he was not academically prepared to take ninth-grade courses. No one disputed that he had finished eighth grade and thus had earned the right to tackle ninth grade.

“Our belief is that we do not accelerate students,” district official Sharon Pyke told the Windsor Star.

We lump children together on the basis of their dates of birth and then put them on a conveyor belt that moves at an identical pace for the majority of students, virtually all of whom are required to spend 13 or more years meandering through an often repetitive and incoherent k-12 curriculum.

This makes sense for school athletics and social traditions; a 10- year-old has no business playing high school football or attending a high school dance.

But it makes little sense for academic education — which is, after all, the core purpose of compulsory schooling.

We regularly speak as though the amorphous term “grade level” refers to progress through the curriculum, but in practice, “grade” is almost always synonymous with “age.”

Most students move from grade to grade simply by showing up. Students are rarely allowed to demonstrate mastery of curricular standards at a particular grade level and then move on to the next level whenever they are ready.

After early childhood, chronological age is almost useless as a predictor of academic ability or achievement.
Every year, some American middle school students labeled “gifted and talented” take college admissions tests and vastly outperform the average high school senior. Fourth-graders take standardized tests and are told that they read “at the 12th-grade level.”

But rather than question the need for such students to trudge on from grade to grade, progressing through the system as they age rather than as they learn, many parents and educators are content to heap admiration on the students, but not present them with challenges that match their abilities and preparedness.

The Canadian district’s decision to deny Bachar access to high school provides a useful illustration of one way in which our education system is based on form rather than function.

The district’s “by the book” approach to Bachar’s case, complete with a blanket denial of his mother’s request for a ninth-grade placement and no apparent attempt to compromise or find an accommodation, is characteristic of a government institution that is not accountable to local parents.

Every day, distant and unaccountable bureaucrats make decisions of this sort that directly affect students’ futures — that open and close pathways of opportunity.

When parents hand over full responsibility for their children’s education to the government and allow their right to influence their child’s education to be eroded until it becomes meaningless, the drive toward centrally dictated uniformity causes parents’ preferences and individual students’ needs to seem irrelevant.

Assisting students such as Bachar will require replacing the stasis and inertia that pervade our education system with competition, innovation and entrepreneurship driven by choice.

58 comments Add your comment

Teacher

November 14th, 2010
9:55 am

My former midwestern school system has made accommodations for such students for years. Gifted students were allowed to take selected course at the high school, while be housed mostly in an age-appropriate classroom.

However, Nathan Deal has demonstrated his stupidity by stating that students who “pass” the CRCT should be allowed to move on. The CRCT is barred too low to make such an assessment. The whole Georgia idea of getting students to “pass” is part of the problem.

Students in the midwest are not threatened if they do not “pass” a test – they are inspired to strive for A’s. The problem in Georgia is that the education system is set up to try and “catch” students doing something wrong, instead of inspiring students to achieve their best!

Georgia should be ashamed by how it views education!

look closer

November 14th, 2010
9:57 am

It took 2 years to convince DeKalb county to allow my child to skip a grade. It took less than 2 weeks to convince her current charter school to skip her ahead another year in math. Most schools seem to operate on the assumption that children will be harmed socially and emotionally by being placed in a class with students who are slightly older than themselves. What is more harmful — socially, emotionally AND academically — is to spend 13 years of your life bored to tears by a curriculum that offers no challenge.

Patrick Crabtree

November 14th, 2010
9:59 am

The real problem is not promoting the child because of intellect, it is age appropriateness. When child is too young for the class, it often corupts the behavior of that child. They may handle the learning, not the socialization skills. That is the problem with retaining children more that once in elemetary grades, they become too mature for the other students in the class. We need magnet schools to deal with this problems that allow bright students to rise with grade appropriate socialization. One day a week Challenge Program is a joke. We teachers have solutions, yet we are demonized because the ‘power in tower’ won’t admit they know an answer and hire ‘consultants’ to prove their leadership. Hmmmmmmm.
Maybe schools are failing because of dogmatic, autocratic leadership.

Ole Guy

November 14th, 2010
10:39 am

Good point, Pat. However, on the other hand, if the kid possesses advanced intelect skills, should he/she not be given the opportunity to “develop” socialization skills which would be on a par with his/her “smarts”? Rather than lowering the smart kid into the lowest common denominator, in terms of behavioral expectation, perhaps, with proper guidance from school personnel, the class, as a whole and over time, could realize a raising of the bar, in terms of the very same expectations. Of course, this would not be the “easier way” in integrating smart kids with “regular” kids. DOES ONE SENSE AN EDUCATIONAL CHALLENGE HERE?

ScienceTeacher671

November 14th, 2010
10:55 am

I agree with the concept of allowing students to learn at their own pace, whether faster or slower than the current norm.

I agree with Teacher that the CRCT should not be used as the guide here – a student can “pass” the CRCT working as much as 4 years below grade level.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Samantha Davis, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Skipping a grade: Easier said than done? http://bit.ly/cWBRqW [...]

APS Teacher

November 14th, 2010
2:09 pm

In most states, there is some degree of ability grouping. Even in elementary school, students switch classes for math (which are grouped by ability). They remain with age level peers but receive academically appropriate work. But here in Georgia (or at least APS) we refuse to allow ability grouping, and just keep spouting the “differentiation” drivel. Most students can be academically challenged with age level peers if we allow ability grouping in some form. (Yes, there are a few outliers that are 8 years old and can do high school work, but they are few and far between.) But we refuse to do that here- we just keep pretending we can accommodate one child who doesn’t know how to write his name and another child who is reading War and Peace in the same classroom. We can’t.

East Cobb Parent

November 14th, 2010
2:17 pm

There is already a well established process in place for both subject and full grade acceleration, The Iowa Acceleration Scale. I thought this was the process state wide but perhaps it is currently just used in Cobb County. Often the teachers do not want to accelerate a child for social reasons(I find this strange since they are always ready to retain for social reasons). I have found that it is typically the parents that push for the process. The Iowa Acceleration Scale gives clear direction as to what is best for the child; whole grade or subject acceleration. I was fortunate to have a teacher that pulled me aside and told me to request this for our daughter. The system seems to accept whole grade acceleration much more than subject acceleration. I’ve heard Cobb County administrators repeat many times they prefer to have heterogeneous grouping so the higher performing child can assist the lower performing.

East Cobb Parent

November 14th, 2010
2:23 pm

@ APS Teacher Cobb County is another that boast differentiation drivel as the correct solution. In eight years, I’ve only seen one teacher that really took the time to differentiate and she had two assistants that year. Additionally 1/3 of the class was pulled throughout the day for special help. Ironic that we give extra assistance for the slower learner, but want to hold back the brighter child. I guess that is one way to close the achievement gap.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ryan McCarl, Connie Jackson. Connie Jackson said: Skipping a grade:Easier said than done? http://t.co/rGTyYBu I skipped a grade, graduated high school at 16, academically good, socially bad [...]

East Cobb Parent

November 14th, 2010
2:54 pm

@ Patrick Crabtree The research that I’ve read does not find any social issues with full grade acceleration. Dr. Susan Assouline has numerous case studies showing that whole grade acceleration is an effective intervention for many gifted students. I would encourage you to read IAS as it looks at many factors to determine if a student is a candidate for whole grade acceleration. It helps to remove the bias that teachers or parents my have due to one or two incidents.

ScienceTeacher671

November 14th, 2010
3:27 pm

Some years ago several systems were sued by parents claiming that ability-grouping amounted to de facto segregation, and IIRC, the systems lost their cases. Are systems in Georgia afraid to use ability grouping for this reason?

There is a system near here that grouped students by ability in reading and math during the elementary years, until the elementary school went to school-wide Title I status, after which they said they were not allowed to do that any more (which didn’t make any sense to me, but federal rules sometimes don’t.)

East Cobb Parent

November 14th, 2010
4:27 pm

I know that several schools in Fulton do allow kids do group by ability.

Teacher

November 14th, 2010
4:48 pm

Gwinnett often takes the black and hispanic kids and groups them together. They call it the “intervention” team, but most of us realize it’s segregation, at best.

@Teacher

November 14th, 2010
5:27 pm

If the black and hispanic kids act like some of the kids in S.Dekalb, they shouldn’t call it intervention team, they should call it the correctional officer team.

I_teach!

November 14th, 2010
5:43 pm

I teach gifted ed., AND I skipped 7th grade.

Deal’s proposal is asinine. The CRCT is a deeply flawed test and proves NOTHING. It is NOT nationally normed, so it really doesn’t show much.

Few children should be able to skip a grade-unless they are truly gifted-this means cognitive ability. Currently, students can be placed in gifted without a ‘gifted level’ I.Q.-they are superior in creativity, achievement, and motivation. These students frequently have average IQs, and do tend to struggle later.

Despite the push, the ONLY differentiation that ever goes on is for the lower kids; gifted kids, above average kids, and average kids are left in the dust in the panic to make AYP. Don’t believe me? Take a look around….remedial programs are well represented. There’s usually one gifted teacher per school (elementary), and few of the regular ed teachers are willing to differentiate upward for the few kids in their rooms.

I see a lot of kids who “skip” kindergarten by coming in from private Ks and pre-schools. They typically do well.

As a “gifted child” who did skip a grade, I was fine-there were huge gaps in my knowledge (the way it was done was wrong, wrong, wrong, but hey, I survived and did well). The problem came when I went to college-even though I was a mature kid for my age, my friends were able to go places I couldn’t (legally, anyway), and it made for some lonesome weekends!

I’d rather see kids accelerated if it really *is* appropriate, but I truly would like to see more differentiation going on in their classrooms. I know my county (which shall remain nameless) does allow lower middle school students to ‘test in’ to a higher level math (but if you’re not gifted in math? screw you, basically.)

Deal also is wrong if he believes that kids should be able to switch grade levels during the year. Really? It’s hard enough keeping track of the nine billion ‘data points’ now.

In Deal, GA has ensured that we will continue to languish in the basement, nationally. His faith in CRCT shows he knows little about it (the cut scores are a JOKE), and knows little about testing at all.

Giirly girl

November 14th, 2010
5:49 pm

I was skipped as a child because I could read at age 3. This was in the 60’s, and I was a student at a small Quaker school in Pennsylvania. All was well until we moved to a new – public – school district 20 miles away. From that point on, I was always the youngest student in my class, and one of the more immature ones at that. It was a problem that followed me through early adulthood.

My daughter, too, read at 3. So when it came time for school – and she was bright enough that the principal suggested skipping her 2 grades – I told her my story. We agreed to keep her with her age peers, but provided strong outside enrichment and had very high expectations academically and behaviorly. We didn’t need the “badge of honor” for ourselves to brag about having a “gifted” child – that’s way overrated, and we’ve seen several skipped – and bratty – kids who just burn out by high school and college.

Each family needs to do what’s right for their child and their family dynamic. But I do agree with the poster who says that the CRCT is a poor benchmark – end of course results are much more reliable.

catlady

November 14th, 2010
6:28 pm

Well, if we did this, my kids would have been 10 year old high school freshmen.

2 of mine were September babies, and would have still been fine starting a year earlier and getting skipped. The youngest was the youngest in her grade (an August birthday) and academically she would have been fine, too. But it was for the best that all 3 of them were in the grade that the state “determined” they should be in. They were all academic and social leaders, and excelled.

From a practical standpoint, Deal’s idea isn’t. He truly has no clue. Looks like with a wife being a former teacher (what did she teach?) he would have thought this through.

What we need to do for our best and brightest is…get out of their way, and make sure the slower kids/less motivated kids don’t hold them back. We could do this quite well if we had the resources. (Although in our system the gifted are the only ones who are not “served” push-in.) We spend a huge amount of time remediating over and over again, with kids who are years behind in mastery of basic skills.

At the small rural elementary school in which I taught, my kids were “sent up” for instruction 2 years ahead in reading, which was a big boost for them. (ie, in kindergarten they were in the top second grade group). We also did a program called Project Instruct where kids, no matter their grade, were placed for 2 weeks in skill groups they had not demonstrated proficiency in. So we had kindergarteners and third graders together working on sh, th, ch, wh, for example. Third grade parents “got it in gear” when they found their kids were in class with kindergarteners. That alone improved achievement in those whose parents had thought they were “fine” when they were really markedly behind.

And, like the rest, let me say the CRCT would NOT be a valid test to determine ANYTHING, much less anything important. I hate to say it, because if the big guys finally get that message, they will spend millions to develop, print, and score YET ANOTHER flawed test. We can start cutting the “fat” in education by cutting the good old boys racket of test prep, development, printing, and scoring.

BehindEnemyLines

November 14th, 2010
6:29 pm

As one of those kids who “skipped” (3/4ths of a year in 6th grade, the balance in 7th) back in the 70’s, I highly recommend it & simultaneously caution about it. Both academically & socially, my experience would be that the sooner it’s done, the better for the student. By middle school age, I’d be lying to see it didn’t present additional social challenges but on the whole it was by far the single best decision ever made on my behalf.

catlady

November 14th, 2010
6:49 pm

Here is an example of the pitfalls of push-ahead. My son began reading very early and by the time he was in kindergarten was one of the top readers in the school (K-7th). He went to second grade for reading instruction, but as you can imagine his fine motor skills were not those of a child 2 years old.

His first grade teacher, who was a first-year teacher, could not figure out what to do with him when he wasn’t in 3rd grade class for reading, so she got a copier book of 5th grade reading for him to work through. I will never forget that one of the topics was “Leaders for World Peace”. It was about 2 pages filled with information about the Ghandis, Dag Hamerskold, MLK, etc, followed by questions to answer. No problem with that. However, when he got to the “thinking question,” my son’s 6 year oldness could be seen. The question was, “As a citizen of the world, what would YOU do to help promote world peace?” and my son wrote, “I’d fight for it!”

You see, the cognitive ability to read the 5th grade level material was there, but the maturity was still that of a six year old.

high school teacher

November 14th, 2010
6:57 pm

“We need magnet schools to deal with this problems that allow bright students to rise with grade appropriate socialization.”

I agree. We also need a magnet school to deal with students who are below grade level.

catlady

November 14th, 2010
7:09 pm

“not those of a child 2 years oldER”

Extreme example, but you get the idea.

Kindergarten_Dad

November 14th, 2010
7:12 pm

This is my wife and myself first time dealing with the public school system in the metro area. We have a 5 year old who started kindergarten this year. The basic level that they are learning according to the GKIDS is low, the Ga assessment of what he should know in Kindergarten; he already knows. We have been pressing the teacher to challenge him with more. We have met with the Principal, they are suppose to be coming up with an action plan. We would like for him to take at least First Grade reading and Math. We thought that this was just standard learning. He learned all the basics in Pre-K. My youngest child will not be able to attend public school she is 3 already taking Pre-K and learning what my son Kindergarten class is learning. We may be forced to remove my son and place in back into Private School. We don’t want him to get behind academically. As far as social skills he is very active he plays about every sport and usually on older teams.

ABC

November 14th, 2010
7:19 pm

Maybe if put less resources into making sure “no child is left behind” the ones that are WAY ahead could get some resources every once in a while.
Perhaps if we were less concerned with “integration” of “special needs” children, the smart kids wouldn’t NEED to skip a grade because their age grade will be challenging.
Maybe if public schools didn’t always cater to the lowest common denominator, kids would be allowed to move ahead of their peers within the same grade if they can.
Perhaps when we can do away with PC BS, smart students won’t need to suffer.

bess

November 14th, 2010
7:28 pm

Notice that the individuals who claim to have skipped a grade cannot write worth a darn or express their thoughts clearly. That says a lot.

sloboffthestreet

November 14th, 2010
7:42 pm

The teachers kids??? Why yes they are. They face the board, the rest don’t. They get all the attention including their parents having them in class. How southern. It amazes me that the people involved in “EDUCATION” are so disconnected from the word. I find ABC’s comment far from true. The horizon kids get much more spent on them than the other children. Field trips are constant. They group them in one class instead of the heterogeneous class that is not only suggested by the “Experts’ but has worked creating educational equity among students teaching the little geniuses that the world is composed of all kinds of people with different abilities and skills. The Georgia Horizon classes are comprised of not only the teachers kids but also friends of the teachers kids and children who have a Legacy to the community. Also very Southern. Borders on iInbred. Sad that there is little concern for the children who need extra help and the brilliant little darlings are put on a pedestal to be flaunted over. Weelcom To The South Sun!!! Isn’t that what they say. Weel, Bless your little hearts!!!

Jamie

November 14th, 2010
7:57 pm

I think it has to be managed carefully. I skipped 11th grade (this was back in the 1970s), so I graduated from high school a month after I turned 17. Going off to college at that age wasn’t terribly difficult for me (I had already been in a boarding prep school), and I wasn’t so much younger that I didn’t have a balanced social life along with my academics. But one of my first roommates was a girl was very gifted and was only 15 as a freshman. Yes, she got to advance academically, but I felt very sad for her because she was so much younger emotionally than everyone else. She had a really rough time fitting in, and very few friends throughout college. I think it’s important to balance emotional maturity with academic ability. Really examine the atmosphere they are going into and manage it appropriately for them.

irisheyes

November 14th, 2010
7:58 pm

Both of mine could pass the CRCT for their grade levels right now, but I know neither of them are ready for the next grade. Plus, while there may not be social issues in elementary, some will crop up in middle school and high school. Do these kids want to be the last one of all their friends’ driving? Sure, it may not seem important to us now, but a driver’s license IS a rite of passage in high school. I don’t know. I guess I’m of the opinion that it should be hard to skip a grade. I am in favor of ability grouping, however. That way, the kids who need to be pushed in math can be, and the kids who need to be pushed in reading can be, and they can still stay with their age mates.

JANINE

November 14th, 2010
7:58 pm

OMG…!! Using the CRCT as the criteria for ANYTHING is totally asinine!!! Some of my students who passed the CRCT in 7th grade were actually reading on a 3rd or at most 4th grade level by any other measure.
However, I have had students that I felt could benefit from being accelerated….while at the same time feeling that the social adjustment may be a problem. I taught for 32 years and thought about this almost every year. It , in fact, was an issue with my own daughter. I finally have come to the conclusion that having a child skip to the next grade is ,overall, probably not the best thing for the child. Although he/she will move along at an accelerated pace academically, in the long run, the pressure, the peer interaction, outweighs the academic advantages. Whether one arrives at the academic pinnacle earlier or later is of little consequence. This child will arrive.

irisheyes

November 14th, 2010
8:00 pm

One more comment: It is inexcusable that with all of the problems facing Georgia’s education system today, this is the ONLY plan that Nathan Deal has. It’s going to be a long four years for public education. Of course, the voters of Georgia will have only themselves to blame.

East Cobb Parent

November 14th, 2010
8:01 pm

@Kindergarten_Dad request that your child be tested for Acceleration using the IAS. This will determine if your child is a good candidate for full grade or even subject acceleration. I don’t know which county your child attends school, if he attends in Cobb this should get you started, http://www.cobbk12.org/centraloffice/adminrules/I_Rules/Rule%20IKEB.htm
I’ve read the comments from those that either didn’t have a good experience with acceleration or felt it was better not to accelerate for various reasons. I would be interested in knowing if the IAS was used to determine whether or not the child should be accelerated. It is well documented that many of our brightest drop out because they are not properly challenged. My experiences with acceleration have all been very positive.

Kindergarten_Dad

November 14th, 2010
8:12 pm

@East Cobb Parent Thanks!

Rich

November 14th, 2010
8:33 pm

It look like Nathan that drank the no child left behind koolaid make by Ted Kennedy while he was in Washington. Children moving up a grade may be an issue, but it is not in the top 10 issues we have with our education system. In Washington, they think our schools are fine.

Rich

November 14th, 2010
8:36 pm

Why is the there a date that if born after you can not start school, but born before you can wait a year? Seems to me that if the date was important, it would work both ways (born after and born before). I have seen kids born beofre the date start a year later, but kids born after the date prevented from starting “early”.

ABC

November 14th, 2010
8:59 pm

sloboffthestreet: oh for pete’s sake quit whining. My kids got in target (Cobb Co’s “gifted” program) and they are not teacher’s kids and I don’t know what the HECK “legacy to the community means”. It’s based on testing.

Bless YOUR heart. Which all true Southerners know what REALLY means….

Ann

November 14th, 2010
8:59 pm

The article states “But it makes little sense for academic education — which is, after all, the core purpose of compulsory schooling.” For very interesting reading on what the real purpose of compulsory schooling is, read John Taylor Gatto’s book “Weapons of Mass Instruction”. It is a fascinating, eye opening book, written by an award winning teacher, that will help you understand the real purpose of schools. You will be surprised. If more people read his books, perhaps we could actually improve modern schooling.

former teacher

November 14th, 2010
9:04 pm

For some reason, my parents decided to have me start school one year earlier than my peers. I turned 17 in April of my senior year of high school. I look back and see how socially immature I was. This is a problem in schools, and there are many issues to consider. I believe that each child’s circumstance should be considered. And I hope and pray that our new governor will soon realize that passing the CRCT is no indication that a child is ready to go to the next grade, much less skip a grade.

bart

November 14th, 2010
9:18 pm

Deal has proven he knows nothing about education. I’m afraid we’re in for another 4 years like the last 8, which is an assault on public education. If we’re looking for a way to get new business in this state, one of the ways is to have a strong public education system. Unfortunatrely, the Repubs don’t seem to understand that. All they want to do is cut funding to public schools. Deal’s plan to allow students to skip a grade based on the CRCT is ludicrous. The CRCT is based on minimal achievement levels. Deal needs to try to get an understanding of testing procedures. Is this Deal’s only plan for improving public education? If so, we’re in big trouble; but then we have only ourselves to blame. We voted for him.

Chrome Gouda

November 14th, 2010
9:26 pm

I’d feel so much better about public education in Georgia if teachers posting here would stop using immature terms like “OMG…!!”

As for acceleration, it is the experience of this private school principal that often, the children who are the most cognitively advanced are the ones who are most underdeveloped, socially and emotionally. I’m not opposed to acceleration, but I believe that 90% of all parents who think that their child is a good candidate for it are wrong.

Rich

November 14th, 2010
9:28 pm

Let’s educate Deal. He may not be an expert in education, but maybe he can learn. Zell Miller was the last gonverner to have a clue about education.

The lack of money is not our problem in education. We do not need more or less. We need to spend what we have better.

Walton Parent

November 14th, 2010
9:42 pm

@East Cobb Parent – Walton County also uses the IAS. We wanted our son evaluated for acceleration at the end of his 7th grade year. They were hesitant to recommend it – they don’t like students skipping the last grade of a school (5th and 8th) and they supposedly had never had a student skip 8th grade. However, after seeing his IAS scores, everyone in the gifted program and central office recommended grade level acceleration. The most interesting aspect of the whole situation was the perspective of the teachers: the high school teachers encouraged acceleration, while most of the middle school teachers did not. Their primary concern was socialization (which it should not have been if they knew him at all) – and they were seemingly unconcerned that he was bored to tears and beginning to hate school.

Coog

November 14th, 2010
10:58 pm

I was moved up a grade in elementary school and often wish I had stayed where I was. … I felt like I went from being outstanding to just pretty good. I missed my friends. In high school, I was into sports. If I’d had one more year, I would’ve been one of the top 6-8 basketball players and top 4-5 baseball players in my school. But as a 16-year-old senior, I was no factor in basketball and a borderline starter in baseball. No big deal, but I can’t say that I don’t think about it from time to time.

Sade

November 14th, 2010
11:37 pm

Why does it have to be an “all or nothing” situation? Students might need the social interaction of their peers but it should not be at the expense of their academic advancement. Is it not possible to have both? When boredom sets in for the academically inclined what then?

Non-traditional School Educator

November 15th, 2010
1:44 am

Students should be allowed to advance when applicable. School can be very boring making it difficult to keep students motivated to learn. Especially boys.

Bill Evelyn

November 15th, 2010
5:09 am

How is it that the government makes the decisions when and how to advance a student. Let the teachers and parents make the decisions and keep government out of the schools.

East Cobb Parent

November 15th, 2010
6:37 am

@ Walton Parent, I’m glad the experience has been positive. Prior to skipping the grade we tried the approach of letting our daughter go to other classes for reading and math. She stayed with chronological aged peers for specials and lunch. We later learned that she felt she did not belong with either group. This was after we had the results and accelerated her. Since then we have left the public school and she is in a private setting. She is no longer the youngest kid and the teachers tell the parents that without seeing the date of birth, they cannot tell which kids were accelerated.
@Coog I’ve seen many kids accelerated in sports if they show talent. I do understand your dilemma with high school sports. Did you play sports in college? I had friends that were walk-ons for college and had an enjoyable experience. They were happy to not have the scholarship as they felt their grades would have suffered.

Andy

November 15th, 2010
6:49 am

I started to school in Sept.at age five. and was not six until Nov. I passed the first and second grade and was promoted to the third grade my first year. I was always a year younger than anyone in my class. I felt like I was at a disadvantage all thru school when it came to sports and social skills. I think it was a mistake for me and I regretted it all though school.

matt

November 15th, 2010
8:59 am

Traditional public school does not offer much for kids who are ahead academically but are not more mature for their age. Our son skipped first grade but by fourth grade his immaturity became a problem. He now attends Georgia Cyber Academy (online public school) and he does great. He is in process of getting another grade ahead in math (he takes his math classes with the next higher grade). He can just take the tests in the subjects in which he does great and then spends more time in the areas he has some problems. The fieldtrips cover different age-ranges so he gets to interact will all kinds of kids. It’s not the perfect solution (I’d rather see him in a classroom with other kids) but in his case it’s probably the best we can do.

Tony

November 15th, 2010
9:50 am

“Our belief is that we do not accelerate students,” district official Sharon Pyke told the Windsor Star.

In our modern era of education, a statement like this has NO PLACE at all in the discussion. We continually hear phrases like “we do what’s best for children” or “excellence for all”, yet we still have decision-makers who are guided by outdated practices.

It is my belief that this issues will become the single biggest factor in restructuring our schools in the 21st century. With so much content available through on-line resources, it will be easier for families that have the resources to allow their children to blossom. If schools do not catch on to this reality, they will crumble.

Our age-based organization of children does not work best for all students. We have spent a lot of time discussing the lower ability students in this forum and how they are moved ahead even without prerequisite skills, now it’s time to talk about the way we hold back those who are ready to move on.

With this said, it will not be as easy as administering the CRCT when the child is ready. The CRCT is not designed to support those kinds of decisions. And, you can’t just give a secure test one by one, either. Imagine the cheating possibilities!

There are many ways for schools to organize students based on learning needs without limiting it to age-based grouping. It’s about time for us to start exploring this possibilities.

just won't fly

November 15th, 2010
10:12 am

all this talk over nothing; Deal’s talk was just that, TALK. If a child is that far advance let their parents withdraw them from public school; send them to whatever GIFTED school that cost a lot of money so they can graduate HS and move onto to college.

A simpler way to solve this is the kids just take “advanced” courses and DUEL enroll during their 10th grade year. The students could drive or parents pay a bus fee for them to ride to the college.