The research suggests that the wisest work-around often is for gifted kids to skip between one and six grades, depending on the student. Grade skipping is the only powerful school-based intervention that doesn't require great teacher effort, which you can too rarely count on.
Parents' main worry about grade skipping is social maturity. Even if your high-ability child isn't socially adept, in many cases, it's wiser to have him or her skip a grade(s) than to endure the ongoing boredom and lack of learning that comes from being in a too low-achieving class. Too, grade skipping reduces the chances of a gifted child being ridiculed by classmates as a snob or showoff.
You can mitigate the social risk of grade-skipping by:
- Trying to get another gifted child accelerated into your child's new class.
- Having your child sit next to a kind, socially adept student(s) who can teach your child the higher grade's social and academic norms.
- Ensuring that the receiving teacher will welcome your child and be willing to keep an eye on your child to ensure s/he's being welcomed into the class and to give your child needed feedback, social and academic.
To maximize your chances of getting permission to have your child skip a grade, present to the principal a portfolio including:
- Samples of your child's in- and out-of-school work that suggest the ability to handle the work in a higher grade.
- Samples of work assigned in his current class that demonstrate how beneath his ability or achievement level that work is.
- Standardized test score results.
- Research supporting grade skipping, including those studies that address the social maturity and knowledge-gap issues. An easy way to assemble the research is to print pages from the excellent book Genius Denied. Because principals tend to be busy, highlight the key sentences.
- If your child writes well, include a letter from your child explaining why it's important s/he be allowed to skip a grade(s).
- Have your child verbally join you in making the case for skipping a grade(s).