Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration

Posted by: Bostonian

Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 03/09/15 09:27 AM

There have probably been hundreds of threads where a new poster asks about early entrance to kindergarten. Such acceleration is really frowned upon by most schools, leading parents to doubt their sanity.

Members who have accelerated their children can reassure posters that they are not crazy and relate their own experiences. We put 2 out of 3 children in KG a year early and do not regret it.

Could Davidson create an online poll for forum members with questions such as
(1) Did you enter a child in kindergarten early? Do you think it has been the right decision?
(2) Has your child skipped a grade in school? Do you think it has been the right decision?

If a few hundred parents responded in a poll that they accelerated, and if most said they did not regret it, citing this poll could reassure new posters of their sanity.

Such a poll would not prove anything, of course, since it would not represent a random sample of parents who accelerated their children. But maybe it would be a helpful supplement to the "color" parents provide in this forum about their experiences with acceleration.
Posted by: Cola

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 03/09/15 09:37 AM

I like that idea. My DS also started kindergarten early and I don't regret it. He would be miserable if he were in 3rd grade right now.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 03/09/15 10:17 AM

Agree completely, Bostonian-- this is a really good idea. smile

I'd add that asking how many years it has been SINCE that early entry/skip would be another useful bit of information.

There are quite a number of past and present members with grade accelerated children who don't regret it-- from 5+ years out, even.

I think that is the information that I would most wish that I'd had at the time. Most of the arguments against acceleration had to do with social adjustment or mythology about child development, early burnout, etc. Also-- what "genius" children actually do LOOK LIKE. For real. Are they all little 10 year old physics graduate students? What does that vast gulf between children/parents who court a media spotlight for their kids who enter college at 14 or younger and those whose children are entirely age-typical contain? Where are THOSE kids, and who is telling those stories... what happens to those children? There is a sense that acceleration is either a perfect solution, or not a solution at all because it will be awful for the child in question. I never had (and still don't) a sense for rational, anecdotal or data-derived least-worst with respect to acceleration among children who are something less than future Nobel or Pulizter contenders, but who are clearly suffering in age-normed settings.

We accelerated because we didn't have much choice. But we've never been easy about the decision to do so.




It has made it very hard to not examine every bump in the road through the lens of "did we do that with the acceleration??" eek
Posted by: Chana

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 03/09/15 10:58 AM

We accelerated from 4th to 6th and did not regret it one bit. Life for my DD was becoming miserable. However, even that was not enough. So, we just brought her home to homeschool and even though we are working well beyond the grade level, we actually officially rolled back the acceleration (figuring we can reinstate it if we wanted.) If she were going to stay in school, we were going to insist on another year acceleration.
Posted by: howdy

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 03/09/15 11:40 AM

I would like to know how many tried to do early entry into K and were denied, then had to skip later. I think it would be easier on the child socially to do early entry, but it is nearly impossible to do this in reality where I live.
Posted by: aanda

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 06/23/15 02:24 PM

Our daughter, now 16, started Kindergarten at 4 years old. She will be entering her Senior year, and I have not regretted early entry for one iota of a moment.
Posted by: Val

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 06/23/15 03:36 PM

I'd be happy to participate in a poll like the one suggested, though I honestly think it would be better approached as a study.

My eldest skipped two grades and started a dual enrollment high school/college program at 14. My youngest started first grade almost exactly on her 5th birthday, making her young for the class behind her (another girl her age is two years behind DD because that girl is a few days on the far side of the birthdate deadline, whereas my DD is a few days inside it).

Here's the thing (well, two things really), and I suspect this opinion won't be popular. When kids get into higher grades, the executive function demands increase over what they were in primary school. They increase again in high school, and in college, they're very high. Also, physical development is an issue, especially for kids who are small and/or 2+ years skipped.

There have been many discussions on this board about asynchronous development, and most people here are familiar with the idea that executive function (EF) doesn't always (or even usually) develop at the same pace as other cognitive functions. This reality can leave a grade-skipped young teenager in a very difficult position, especially because many educators don't know much about EF.

Kids around 12-15 are highly vulnerable to the seduction of distractions like computer games, hobbies, and what-have-you. If they're in an environment that demands a lot from them, they're at risk for, shall we say, underachievement relative to potential. Combine this problem with relatively immature executive function, and problems can happen. These problems are real, and they can be very damaging.

Compound the EF dilemma with being a lot younger than everyone else, and the problems can get worse. Young teenagers may be more susceptible to pressure to fit in with older kids in their classes who may not be the best role models around. Younger kids are typically a lot smaller than their grade peers, and when puberty comes around, a child who's been accelerated by 2+ years will be a prepubescent in a class of kids who are 6-8 inches taller (including the girls) and who've spent some time thinking about things that have not really entered the mind of the younger kid. The younger kid won't fit in with his or her classmates for ~2+ years (starting in 8th for boys, younger for girls), and there really isn't anything you can do about it.

The physical thing was really, really hard on my eldest, and he struggles with good study habits. My youngest will start 7th grade just before her 11th birthday. She's very tall and is basically the same size as her classmates, but the executive function difference is real and obvious.

Personally, from where I'm sitting and from what I've seen, one grade skip is less of a big deal for most people in these two regards. I've spoken to adults who regretted single skips, but they were in the minority. I've spoken to adults who skipped multiple grades, and most weren't happy about it at all. Here's a sample of the stuff I've heard: Try finding a date for the dance when all the girls have deeper voices than you do and I was miserable in high school because I was so different. All they saw was my IQ. That kind of thing.

My daughter struggles with being so young. There's an element to it that's exciting and an element that's scary. This is a girl who's outgoing, independent, and open to trying whatever new thing comes along. My eldest son has always been good at adapting to a new situation, which both helps and hinders him. Sure, he can fit in with kids two years older than him, but at the same time, I'm not sure he likes all the you're-so-smart comments, and I don't want him to feel like he has to live up to them. It's also hard for him to find a study buddy when the other students in his science or math classes are 4-5 years older than him.

I know that people get very excited about grade skips, but in my experience and from what I've learned in informal interviews over the last 8 years or so, it's a mixed bag that can come with problems that are as serious as the ones you're trying to avoid. Yes, the school system is a huge part of the problem, but the school system is what it is right now, and I think it's important for parents to be aware of the downside of skips. I read a lot about the positive side of skips (and yes, there are many positives), but way down the road, negatives can creep in.

Overall, right now one skip is working best. We wouldn't do another one for our DD. I'm honestly not sure what to think about the second skip our eldest did. Intellectually, it was right. Otherwise, I'm not so sure.

I know that YMMV, but I suspect that people get carried away with enthusiasm for grade skips without listening to the very real negative sides.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 06/23/15 04:21 PM

Great ideas.

Originally Posted By: Val
I know that people get very excited about grade skips, but in my experience and from what I've learned in informal interviews over the last 8 years or so, it's a mixed bag that can come with problems that are as serious as the ones you're trying to avoid... I think it's important for parents to be aware of the downside of skips. I read a lot about the positive side of skips (and yes, there are many positives), but way down the road, negatives can creep in.
Agreed. It is good to be well-informed on all sides of an issue, pros and cons. Here is a link to a thread on Grade skipping tradeoffs, which discusses possible drawbacks, downsides, and disadvantages to grade-skipping. There is also this bit of insight from an old post:
Originally Posted By: old post
they can accelerate as fast as they can, but school and online videos are rarely going to offer the direct metacognitive support for the secondary skills they did not give themselves time to develop (such as sanity checks and rereading problems).
Curriculum focused standardized tests are more often going to focus on the direct testing of specific element knowledge and application. They can become poor indicators of actual mastery that would include the full range of secondary skills.
Here is another thread which may be of interest: Effects of Early Grade Acceleration and one called Kindergarten, experiences with grade-skipping?

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Could Davidson create an online poll for forum members
Did you know? Members may create polls. The process is outlined in the forum FAQs which says:
Originally Posted By: forum FAQs
How do I put a poll in my post? Putting a poll in your post is simple.

If polls are enabled, start by creating a new post in a forum. Below the body of your post, you will see a text box that allows you to specify how many polls you want to have in your post and the system will guide you through the rest.
The Poll Manager walks a poster through the steps to create a poll. Here is a sample. If someone wants to create a better poll, I will graciously delete the draft below and defer to the new poll anyone chooses to create! smile


Posted by: Mana

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 06/23/15 04:59 PM

DD would be one of the youngest in her class and there'd be boys who are more than a year older than her. As it is, I'm worried about her social maturity and lack of EF skills. It's hard for me to imagine DD maturing to a point where grade skipping would be appropriate for her. Never say never I suppose but that doesn't sound all that plausible right now.
Posted by: daytripper75

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 06/24/15 05:58 AM

I suggest adding in some questions on single subject acceleration. smile
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 06/24/15 06:10 AM

Thanks, Indigo, I filled out the survey. I suggest adding the following question:

If your child did accelerate, did he or she do so through
(A) the public schools
(B) a private school and later transfer to a public school
(c) a private school, without a later transfer to a public school
Posted by: blackcat

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 06/24/15 06:22 AM

I answered the poll but there wasn't really a choice that fit our situation. We did a full grade acceleration (plus some additional acceleration for math after some time had went by), and it worked well for a couple years, then the negatives started outweighing any positives, so I checked that "it was not helpful". I am not sure at this point whether we will try to "undo" the full grade acceleration. The reason why the negatives seem to now be outweighing positives is because of the EF issues and being diagnosed 2e since the acceleration. It wasn't a "horrible" decision, and it did help for a couple years, but I don't know that it was the right thing over the long term. Of course we don't know what things would have been like if it had NOT been done...maybe worse or there would have been other problems to deal with.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 06/24/15 06:41 AM

Val,

As usual, some very cogently presented and valid points.

We too, are not planning any further skips for our DD due to concerns over EF demands in addition to social strain during an asynchronous (relative to her peers) puberty.
Posted by: amylou

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 06/24/15 06:51 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian


Could Davidson create an online poll for forum members with questions such as
(1) Did you enter a child in kindergarten early? Do you think it has been the right decision?
(2) Has your child skipped a grade in school? Do you think it has been the right decision?

If a few hundred parents responded in a poll that they accelerated, and if most said they did not regret it, citing this poll could reassure new posters of their sanity.


To give readers a balanced perspective, if I were going to construct such a poll, I would also ask, in addition to the questions above, "Did you choose not to enroll your child in kindergarten early?" and "Did you choose not to have your child skip a grade?"

Our answers to both of these questions are yes for our now 15yo, and having stats on this choice could help reassure the sanity of some new posters considering the possibility of *not* accelerating, especially since, imo, this forum already generally conveys a strong bias in favor of grade acceleration.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 06/24/15 07:16 AM

Great questions, everyone!

In creating the draft poll upthread, I learned a few things, including that one cannot go back to edit or add to the poll(s) in that particular post. As a "Post Option", the Poll Manager is presented underneath the text window only when creating a new post (specifically when utilizing the "Reply" feature, not "Quick Reply"). The Poll Manager is not available when editing a post.

With that new insight in mind, please consider adding your questions (they are all GREAT questions) in a poll in your new posts on this thread. In this way, the poll can be piece-meal, with questions and response options contributed by ALL, over time.

What are your thoughts? Are others ready to create a poll post or two?

As an alternative, if another poster would like to create a more complete poll incorporating everyone's input, I would graciously delete the draft poll upthread and defer to the new poll anyone chooses to create. smile
Posted by: cricket3

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 06/24/15 07:23 AM

Originally Posted By: amylou
Originally Posted By: Bostonian


Could Davidson create an online poll for forum members with questions such as
(1) Did you enter a child in kindergarten early? Do you think it has been the right decision?
(2) Has your child skipped a grade in school? Do you think it has been the right decision?

If a few hundred parents responded in a poll that they accelerated, and if most said they did not regret it, citing this poll could reassure new posters of their sanity.


To give readers a balanced perspective, if I were going to construct such a poll, I would also ask, in addition to the questions above, "Did you choose not to enroll your child in kindergarten early?" and "Did you choose not to have your child skip a grade?"

Our answers to both of these questions are yes for our now 15yo, and having stats on this choice could help reassure the sanity of some new posters considering the possibility of *not* accelerating, especially since, imo, this forum already generally conveys a strong bias in favor of grade acceleration.


Yes. Totally agree. We also did not accelerate (though in part because of the school's policy) and have been mostly satisfied with the decision (DD is also 15).
Posted by: ConnectingDots

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 06/24/15 08:16 AM

Just a note that studies have been conducted by the University of Iowa (Nation Deceived and the new Nation Empowered) on the topic of acceleration.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 06/24/15 08:53 AM

Yes, these resources (studies conducted by the University of Iowa on the subject of acceleration, A Nation Deceived, and the new report A Nation Empowered) are frequently mentioned on the forums.

Rather than the existence of researched studies quelling discussion and answering poster's questions, the sharing of those resources seem to spark additional interest in discussing how the personal experiences of current forum members compare with researched studies... as both research and anecdotal evidence are valued by forum members.

Also linking to:
- an old post discussing acceleration (Tamara Fisher archives: Unwrapping the Gifted)
- a few thoughts about gym class:
Grade skipping tradeoffs,
Grade skipped and facing middle school,
Subject Acceleration and Changing Buildings.

Also linking to more old threads on acceleration:
1. Accelerated schooling - skipping a year
2. Skip a grade?
Posted by: ConnectingDots

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 06/24/15 09:15 AM

I understand, indigo. Just mentioning for newer members since Val's post suggested that a study might be in order.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 06/24/15 09:17 AM

Great idea, however a study can be time consuming, while polls on the forum can provide instantaneous information, as well as preserving anonymity, and allowing the parents to be in control of what is being asked (by creating the poll questions in our new posts). There is nothing about creating polls on the forum which precludes a formal study. Quite the opposite, the presence of forum polls on various aspects of acceleration may provide insight into the information which parents may be seeking to consider when contemplating acceleration for their child. In that way, forum polls may help inform questions and hypotheses for future research studies.

That said, in case someone comes across this thread and not others on the topic of acceleration, I'll add a link to the work of the Acceleration Institute so that those resources and prior research are present in this thread, including
- A Nation Deceived
- A Nation Empowered
- Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS)

ETA: Here is a link to a post which seems to understand very well why many students (and their parents) choose full-grade acceleration. In addition to expressing understanding, this post also mentions the research on acceleration:
Originally Posted By: aeh
I have first- or second-hand knowledge of an unusually high number of acceleration stories, including many radical accelerants into early college, and it is clear to me that a significant number of those individuals would have suffered loss or injury to important aspects of themselves had they not been accelerated. The costs of acceleration were well worth it for them. Those observers who believe the costs -were- too high generally have not grasped the severity of pre-acceleration psychic pain they were experiencing. These are the kinds of data captured by the longitudinal research on radical acceleration.
Click on the link to read the full post.


ETA: Here is a link to a post which mentions potential costs of NOT accelerating.

Here is a link to a roundup of acceleration threads.
Posted by: mayreeh

Re: Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration - 07/06/15 05:10 PM

My son skipped first grade and will be a high school senior this year. We don't regret the one year skip and we don't regret holding it at just the one year. Elementary school was hard to survive. Middle school was a bit easier. High school has been a breeze. Note that in middle school, we started paying for straight A's. (I wouldn't work if I didn't get paid, so why should the kids?)

Anyway - we never considered a skip for DD. Now she wants to start college 2 years early. Oh well.