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Grade skippers earn 5% more a year

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New research from Utah Valley University says skipping a grade means earning more money in life.

It’s approximately five percent more money annually for those who got out of school a year earlier than similar children who graduated high school at age 18.


UVU associate professor Russell Warne says his is not the first study to look at income, but he looked at it over a longer term and with more samples, first from the 1920s and second from the 1970s to the present.


“Grade skipping and similar interventions are hugely academically effective. I’ve never seen a study that says academically these kids are harmed,” he said.

Other interventions besides skipping a grade include graduating high school earlier, and not holding back a child with a summer birthday from starting kindergarten on time.


However, starting kindergarten before age 5 is against the law in Utah, and grade skipping is becoming more rare. Warne believes as many as 3 to 5 percent of kids could skip a grade, but only about 1 in 400 do.


“No one can point to long term negative outcomes of academic acceleration, and I believe schools should practice it more,” said Warne.


Warne says some worry about their child not reaching the dating age or driving age at the same time as their friends in the same grade, or they wonder about being the right size or age for varsity sports. But he says high school is temporary and there are years ahead in life, and who wouldn’t want a 5 percent a year raise?


He believes his research may help some parents feel better about seeking intervention for their bright or gifted student.
“It should be weighed with other pieces of evidence and with the child’s individual circumstances and needs,” he said.


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