Skipping a Grade

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

Repate 6th grade now and skip 9th grade later?

Dec 2013

We may be relocating to St. Louis for about 3 years for my husband's job, and plan to return to Berkeley after. There is a charter school in STL we would like our oldest to attend to continue her education in Spanish immersion, but they are just opening the middle school next year and she would have to repeat 6th grade since they will not offer 7th grade yet. We are fine with this since the age cut-off for starting K is much earlier there, and she would be over a full year younger than everyone in her grade if entering 7th in STL next fall. My question is what happens when we return to BHS? Is there any way for her to enter her old grade-level at BHS (ie, ''skip'' freshman year), or would she have to stay a year behind them? I realize it may take some extra work to get her ready to return into 10th grade, which we would be willing to do, but the transition back may be easier if she could re-enter her grade with her old peer group from elementary and middle school. Thanks for any advice! Moving Midwest

Have you thought through that by repeating 6th grade in St Louis she would be repeating course material she has already had rather than learning new material? This could be boring for her and make it a wasted year educationally. Her age is not the issue (there are always younger kids in a classroom), but rather what she has already learned.

Also, you are de-emphasizing the importance of the 9th grade curriculum by thinking she could skip it. It doesn't seem to make sense for her to study all the 9th grade coursework on her own while being bored in a classroom with a repeat of material she's already learned. Also, the UC and CSU systems have ''a-g'' requirements that include 9th grade classes. You would have to check to see whether by not taking these classes she would be losing her eligibility for UC and CSU schools. Anonymous

Experience with grade skipping in BUSD?

Sept 2012

I'm interested in whether any of you have had first-hand experience at the elementary level in BUSD, ideally in the Central Zone schools, around the topic of acceleration/grade skipping. We're looking to move into BUSD and would love to hear about whether a specific principal has been particularly amenable or resistant to the idea, what your experience with the process was like, etc. Please note: I do not come to this question lightly and politely request that you not offer general advice or opinions about the relative merits of skipping a grade if you do not have first-hand experience. Thank you! Gathering Info

My older daughter, now in 7th grade, skipped kindergarten at Berkeley Arts Magnet (BAM).

She has a fall birthday, and (for social/emotional reasons) we waited until she was almost 6 to start her in kindergarten. After a week or so of school, her teacher called to suggest that we consider moving her into first grade because she was very advanced academically. The teacher had had other teachers/staff (including the current-but-then-new principal) look at my daughter's work. When we agreed to try it out, my daughter went for a few hours a day for a few days to a first-grade classroom. After a week or so we all agreed that the move to first grade would be a good thing. The whole process felt thoughtful, well-done and (mostly) well-managed.

Our efforts since then to get her ''accelerated,'' at both BAM and now at King middle school, have not been successful. She's done very well, however, and overall we've been very happy with the BUSD schools. Feel free to email. Robin

Skipping first Grade and going on to Second

May 2008

We are thinking of skipping our Kindergarten son past first grade and into the second grade this Fall. He is not only bright but physically and socially mature. This move was suggested by his current K teacher, though we had long considered it. I am just curious if any one has had any recent experience advancing or not advancing their children and how this has worked out for them. We are in the Berkeley Unified School district. Thanks...

Your son should do fine in second grade.

One thing to consider are the consequences LONG down the road. For example, many younger boys have trouble in high school, when they are required to do higher level math thinking, for example, and that part of their brain simply has not developed yet. It is not a case of immaturity or smarts, but rather, of biological brain development.

The other thing to consider is if you want your son graduating high school at 16 or 17. For many kids--boys especially--college at that age is very difficult.

Our son skipped a grade, and was fine through school, but I wish someone had warned us about high school, and what it is like for a very young boy, especially these days, when parents start their kids in kindergarten sometimes a year late! How will your son do, being peers with boys in his class who might be three years older? Lots to consider besides brains

My advice -- don't skip a grade. If you are concerned that your child is losing interest in academics because it's too easy, then send him to a Montessori or some other school where he can work at his own rate. Or put him somewhere like the Academy or Bentley where all the kids are meant to work at an accelerated rate.

It's too easy for a child to think later on that he or she is just not talented at certain things (sports, math, physics) simply because s/he is physiologically less mature than their peers, and then you lose out on a whole world of possibility. Socially, if you skip your son it's less likely that he'll be able to experience being a leader and more likely that he'll end up a sidekick or on the periphery.

The other thing is that a lot of the other kids will start catching up to your son academically by second or third grade. My son did not read at the beginning of first grade, for example, but could read at a third grade level by the end of the year. So for now your son can have the gift of total self- confidence and by second or third grade there will be many more kids at his level to challenge him.

Back when I was in elementary school, kids were skipped a lot. There were four kids in my family. I skipped, my sister skipped, my brother skipped, and when it came time for the fourth to skip we all said to my parents, please don't do it. So the youngest did not. Everyone succeeded academically. We all went to Harvard or Princeton. But my youngest sister was the one who had the deepest self-confidence for the longest time. From the outside, I think that it always looked like skipping had been a good idea for the rest of us -- we always had friends, and we were still always among the best students in the class. BUT I had such unbelievable self confidence before I skipped, and after I skipped I always felt as though I were playing catch up. I was very flexible and adaptable and I really valued that, but for years I wanted to rejoin my original class. I'm sure I would have lost that total self confidence later on, but I wish it could have been preserved a few years more. Life is not a controlled experiment, but to be honest, if it were, I would love to know how the me who did not skip a grade turned out. When I meet other people who skipped I find it is always a bond because they had similar experiences. It was the first time that they questioned their natural place in the order of things. concerned mom

Sounds like your son would be better off skipping a grade and going into second. Studies have shown that smart kids who are underchallenged in school are as likely to drop out as the ''at-risk'' kids.

Remember, you can always have him take a year off later. It's really easy to go back a year... but almost impossible to skip ahead. If the teacher says it's a good idea, I'd go for it.

A friend of ours had a son who was really headed down the wrong path in first grade... getting into trouble, vandalizing the school, etc. When they finally realized the problem was that he was bored for seven straight hours in school, they skipped him up a grade. The new teacher said that the boy became an ''ideal student, a role model'' for the other boys in third grade. All it took to improve his behavior was to make sure he was challenged academically.

This is not an isolated case. Often ''immature'' behavior is caused by kids being bored out of their minds in an inappropriate academic setting, and studies have shown that social development is often improved by placing kids appropriately. All children develop at different rates; grouping them by chronological age is not necessarily the best way for them to develop emotionally or academically.

Grade skipping is not for everybody, and teachers rarely recommend it around here. But remember, it's always reversible if it doesn't work out.

You can also check out the Iowa Acceleration Manual if you want to be sure it's a good idea for your son. Here's a good web site describing it: Good luck!

Let me tell you about a girl in my son's kindergarten. She was an amazing reader when she entered kindergarten (already reading chapter books). I swear her vocabulary was at about a sixth grade level. Her parents were so proud! She really impressed adults, and enjoyed this.

Jump ahead to fourth grade. Guess what? Every other kid caught up to her, and everything has pretty much evened out. The downside for this girl is she is no longer the brilliant one in the class; she no longer feels academically superior to the other kids, and because her parents never fostered her social skills, the other kids find her socially awkward and a bit weird.

Imagine if her parents had skipped her! She would be in even worse shape. And to the parent who said you can always hold your child back later, that is out of the question. How humiliating would that be, to move ahead, fail, and then be moved back? Kids are extremely aware of where they belong, and to be held back is the most painful thing in the later grades.

Good luck. It is not an easy decision to make. A lifetime to learn--why rush it?