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Research Supports Starting Kindergarten Early for Advanced Children

 Research Supports Starting Kindergarten Early for Advanced Children

Over the years, it has routinely been contested that skipping grades and starting kindergarten early is the best for children who are advanced. Research, however, suggests that advanced children need the challenge early on, and that districts must adapt to optimize results.

For children who skip grades (currently less than 2 percent of all students "[e]ducation researchers generally refer to them as 'accelerated.' It's a catch-all term to describe students who have either entered kindergarten early, grade-skipped or taken single subjects above grade level," according to NPR.

Though it's uncommon for children to skip grades and start early, two new reports from the past few weeks suggest that this should change.

Researchers from the University of Iowa found in their report 'A Nation Empowered' that decades of research conclude acceleration has a positive impact on students, but is constrained by state policies.

To further elaborate on how state policies do more harm than the intended good, a report from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation "notes that 20 states specifically prohibit children from entering kindergarten early," according to NPR.

And for states that don't prohibit whole grade-skipping, they have extensive testing requirements that make the process a challenge. This second report focuses specifically on the disadvantages low-income, gifted students face when such constraints hold them back.

Part of the reason behind schools' deterring advanced students from skipping ahead is because many involved are worry that the challenge of keeping up with older children then sets them back.

But research indicates this might not be a long-term issue: "A 2006 study found that the youngest students in a given class, at first, do indeed struggle to keep up. But as time goes on, differences in achievement fade away," the article said.

Indeed, the alternative to keeping advanced students from getting ahead could be disengaging them.

"Tracy Cross, the president of the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) and a contributor to the 'A Nation Empowered' report, said that when high-achieving children aren't challenged, they get bored and run the risk of becoming disengaged."

Read the full story here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

5/1/2015

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