Friday, April 24, 2015
When advocates for gifted kids bring up the idea of "whole grade acceleration" -- better known as skipping a grade -- some chunk of people get very concerned. They mention knowing "one child" who skipped a grade, and that kid was screwed up for life. So it's always good to know that if one kid was screwed up for life, he's in the statistical minority. Gifted kids who skip grades appear less likely to be screwed up than gifted kids who don't. That's the conclusion from research done by Katie McClarty, and presented at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting recently. McClarty compared career outcomes for accelerated and non-accelerated kids of similar abilities 12 years after 8th grade (so roughly in their mid 20s). Per the press release, "The study concludes that students who skipped a grade are more successful, have higher productivity rates, more prestigious occupations and they earn more and increase their income faster compared to older, similar-ability, non-accelerated peers." To be sure, there are many other considerations in this. Many people in academic and professional careers are still in school in their mid-20s (though the good thing about being accelerated is you can get through all those years quicker!) One could also think of other factors that might contribute to the difference. Perhaps kids who are accelerated had families who were more aggressive in advocating for them. This could affect what children wind up doing later in life as well. But even so, this does provide evidence that grade skipping does not lead to disproportionately bad effects. Readers of Gifted Exchange know that, but the broader world still does not. It's good to get more evidence of that. In other news: I've been running a series on my personal blog on the secrets of happier parenting, which might be of interest to some readers. Check out www.LauraVanderkam.com for more.