TO A HIGHER GRADE
for Teachers and Parents
a parent or a teacher will want a child to be considered for
acceleration to a higher grade because of his or her superior
intellectual and/or academic ability.
Generally, there is no special criteria which applies to
acceleration; rather, each case should be considered on its own merits.
is usually inadvisable except in very special cases. Following is a list of the major factors which should be
considered before the final decision is made.
Children who would nearly have been in a higher grade,
had their birthday been earlier, are more likely to be successful.
Thus, a birth date in October, November, or December would be
considered a plus factor for acceleration.
an I.Q. score itself should not be a basis for acceleration, those
being considered should be at least one standard deviation above the
grade placement scores should place the child at or above the grade
level for which he is being considered.
Most important here are reading, language, and spelling. Specific skills must be given a thorough analysis also.
For example, a child may have developed a superior sight
recognition level in reading, without developing concomitant
phonetic word attack skills. In
such cases the child may be placed in a grade which will allow him
to “miss” the development of important skills in this area.
Arithmetic at the elementary level is not too often far above
grade level, because specific skills involved may not yet have been
covered in class. Reading
comprehension is usually one of the best predictors of elementary
school academic success.
the child has grown up in the same neighborhood and has a close
relationship with his chronological age peers, being singled out of
the group for acceleration could pose social or emotional
difficulties for the child.
the child have a sibling in the grade to which consideration is
being given? It would
probably be damaging to the family structure if, for example, a
third grader were accelerated to the fourth grade, where a sibling
was enrolled, even if they were in separate rooms.
of the rate of maturation, a girl might generally be considered a
better risk for acceleration than a boy.
This of course does not rule out boys, but presents one
further dimension to the problem.
and Emotional Maturity: Will
the child visually appear out of place in the new setting because of
his physical size? More
important, will the child feel out of place.
Intramural sports, for example, and future classroom
“romances” can be affected.
If the child is not relatively secure emotionally, the more
could prove harmful. Further,
the school must consider whether the child is secure enough to
handle the new social situation.
schools have long known that unless the parents approve a move of
this importance, the home climate and discussions can hurt the
chances for success. More
often than not, the parents are flattered that their child is
considered for acceleration and wholeheartedly endorse the move,
volunteering to help with the child’s assignments until the child
is caught up. Too often
it is the parents, themselves, who initiate the proposal, stating
that their child is “bored” with the easy work.
all the factors are weighed, the person responsible for the proposed
move considers the number of positive answers to the issues listed
above, as opposed to the negative.
The acceleration should be carefully explained to the child and
his feelings should be assessed. In
some cases a “trial period” may be advisable before a final decision
is made. It should be
carefully explained to the child that he is not “on trial”, so to
but it should be made clear to the child that this period (of a month,
or so) is a time for the school and the child,
to see if it was best to do this. There
must be no feelings of failure if the child needs to be returned to the
grade after this period.