We already learned about the concept of the traditional factory school and why that model will always result in underachieving children; because it is designed to create identical results regardless of potential or capacity. We also learned that skipping a grade has scientifically proven benefits even though some people argue that it creates social or self-esteem issues or places undue stress on children. Let's talk more about the benefits.
As I mentioned in the previous article: Evidence shows that children who skip grades achieve more than the children they left behind, and surpisingly, even more than the older children they join. Of children who have the same IQ and same age before the skip, those who do skip dominate in achievement tests over those who don't -- a permanent increase in IQ, which is normally thought to be fixed. Students who skip also rate better socially and emotionally than those who don't and have higher self-esteem.
What causes these benefits? Here are five causes.
They gain ambition and motivation. Children who skip grades are much more likely to join advanced programs in later school years and pursue higher education, along with all the increased earnings and career benefits. Most importantly for their character, they realize that success is not easy. Studies show that children who earn good grades with relative ease become conditioned to success. They slip into a mindset that can last a lifetime; a mindset of doubt in their real-world abilities to solve problems they haven't seen before. People with this afflication play-it-safe, avoiding challenge and learning opportunities, preferring to stick to their stengths and guaranteed success but living a fearful and stagnant life at the same time (Dweck 2000, 2006, 2012).
They stop wasting time. If your child is getting straight A's with minimal effort then they are wasting practically all their time every day. They are learning nothing. Nothing, that is, except that they should expect to get outstanding results without effort, which causes those huge mindset problems later on. Consider that if your child skips a grade then they literally get an extra year of life. In the meantime, they spend all those other years learning more.
Consider also, that the child is learning to slow themselves down and procrastinate. When they get a boring sheet of math problems or other make-work assignment that's due at the end of class but takes only a few minutes to complete then the child settles into some other activity. I'm lucky because my child reads or draws, but he could just as easily become a disruption as his idle brain struggles to entertain itself. However, even though my child reads which is a good thing and gives him enjoyment, he is now optimizing his fun by creating more reading time. As a result, he doesn't check his work or even take any pride in it. He either rushes through beforehand or reads first and them leaves himself just enough time to slam down answers. The silly case of the smart kid performing worse!
They actually get smarter. IQ is thought to be an objective measure of intelligence that doesn’t change. It's scaled to the age of the child. As a simple example: If the average child only learns to add at age 5, but your child knows this at age 4, then your child has an IQ of at least 125 (5 is 1.25 of 4) in adding.
Studies show that children who skip a grade quickly fill in all their knowledge gaps as they adapt into the new grade. On IQ tests they score at least as well, and often higher, than others in their new grade. This is a permanent increase in IQ as if the child were one year older than they are. This effect is not seen when children are not skipped because the factory school model whittles away potential rather than realizing it (Wells 2009).
They benefit from the Pygmalion and Halo effects. One famous early study by Roesnthal and Jacobsen included an experiment in which teachers were told that a group of randomly selected individuals were smarter than average when they were not. After the school year finished, IQ testing determined that those previously average children had indeed gained in IQ as a result of subconcious teacher expectations improving the interactions (Rosenthal, 1964, 1973). Halo effect is another bias in which people subconciously apply information to other areas, such as percieving children who they expect to be smart as being better behaved even if there is no difference in actual behavior.
Both of these effects confer real advantages to students that teachers know have skipped grades. Get your child those advantages.
They benefit socially and have higher self-esteem. The most common objection to skipping grades is the worry that the child is not ready to engage with older children or won't be able to handle the stress of the new grade. In reality none of it matters. By the time they become adults children who skip and those who don't are both equally happy and well adjusted. When asked if they regretted skipping a grade most regretted not skipping more. It does make a difference at the time though. Children who have just skipped do indeed experience some stress as they adapt into the new grade, but improved self esteem quickly replaces stress because the child has proven to themselves that they are more capable than their peers.
Most articles that talk about grade skipping say it's for "gifted" kids. I don't believe it. First of all, I believe that any young child can easily be coached into testing at a gifted level by caring parents. Second I think that skipping grades is so beneficial that any “average” child should try it. See the next article for my plan on how to do it.
Wells, Ryan. What Factors Are Associated With Grade Acceleration? (2009)
Rosenthal, Pygmalion in the classroom: teacher expectation and pupils’ intellectual development. (1964, 1992 update) [A brief and update].