You are a student who, for whatever reason, be it you had to miss out on class, or you can’t get along with your classmates, you want to skip a grade ahead. Or perhaps you are a parent who sees to it that their gifted child is placed into their proper grade. That’s cool! There’s no judgment here. We’re here to help you.
In this article, dear Tennessean, we will show you whether nor not it is possible to skip a grade in Tennessee or other states in the United States and how to do so!
Can You Skip a Grade in Tennessee?
Yes, you can, in fact, skip a grade in Tennessee. Most US states allow students to skip a grade (“whole grade acceleration”)—or more specifically, no federal law or mandate requires that a student complete a grade sequentially. This lack of policy applies to essentially any school, from elementary/primary school to high school. In theory, it is entirely possible to skip more than a few grades or even skip middle or high school entirely. Similarly, it is also possible to be ‘held back” and take the same grade multiple times, though this result requires abysmal academic progress.
Ultimately, it depends on the specific school whose grades you wish to skip. Some schools may have a lax policy on grade skipping, allowing students to get ahead with a recommendation and maybe some extra work. Other schools may require exceptional academic success and consistency from their students and other qualifications like attendance. If you happen not to be fortunate enough to be in those schools, well, unfortunately, you are out of luck! There are schools that may not let you skip grades at all, no matter how academically inclined or ahead you are.
When exactly can a student start skipping grades?
Can Your Child Skip Kindergarten in Tennessee?
Unfortunately, for parents with children five years old or young, the buck stops (or more accurately, does not begin) here. In accordance with Tennessee state policy and the Tennessee Department of Education, a student cannot enter first grade without having completed kindergarten (specifically, a student must have completed a state-approved kindergarten program). A student must be at least five years old by August of the year of their enrollment simply to enter kindergarten, regardless of their status in pre-school, so getting to elementary school right out of pre-school is not really an option. Consequently, you would want your child to attend kindergarten as early as possible for them to get into the general education programs to skip them.
The Benefits of Skipping a Grade in Tennessee
Why would you want to skip grades in the first place? You would have to take up additional schoolwork and homework in a shorter amount of time. Your schedule will become more congested and busier, and you’ll wake up from nightmares of chimera hybrids of Calculus, English Composition, and the free market.
The most apparent benefit of skipping your grade is that you are closer and closer to graduating from school. Many students take a year off after graduating, at the risk of being behind. If you graduate early, you can take a year off and still meet your peers on the same level. In the process, you may also be acquainted with students who are more on your level. This is particularly beneficial if you (or your child) feel unable to connect to their classmates.
If you are particularly looking for a way to enter high school or college early, skipping grades isn’t strictly the only path. Some schools offer dual enrollment, in which you take college-level courses while you are still attending high school. Sometimes the college credits double as high school credits and could get you out of high school early, though this is not guaranteed.
There are some downsides, too, however. You will have to take up more school and homework at once—not just from the same class but also from several different courses. You also have less time to hang out with your friends or free time elsewhere. Additionally, just because you can skip a grade does not mean you are adequately prepared. Going from first to third grade is a huge jump: your classmates are older and bigger than you, and your schoolwork is more demanding and difficult.
If none of this has driven you away, then let us discuss the ways to skip a grade in Tennessee.
Learn everything you need to know about the benefits and drawbacks of skipping grades here.
What is the Process of Skipping a Grade in Tennessee?
Skipping a grade in Tennessee is a matter of effort, connections, and will. By most accounts, it is a matter of convincing your peers and your seniors that you can handle the work before you. Before you pursue your dream of an early graduation, consider a few options to skipping your grades:
The best way to skip a grade in Tennessee is to enter a program for the intellectually gifted. Now, as per the Tennessee Department of Education, an “intellectually gifted child” has intellectual abilities whose needs exceed the general education programming. Intellectually gifted children are typically placed in the same programs or grades as similarly talented children or children with equivalent intellectual abilities (i.e., higher grade students). However, identifying an “intellectually gifted” child is at the discretion of the Department of Education. This group would include a small minority and a process of taking specialized tests.
Ask Your Advisors or Teachers
You can negotiate with your teachers, guidance counselor, and vice principal about the possibility of skipping a grade and taking a more extensive workload of classes within your schedule. Be warned that your counselor may not allow you to skip your grades, to begin with! In some schools, early graduation is a move that will go as high up as the school’s administration or the local Department of Education.
Generally, this is the first and sometimes only hurdle in getting a student to skip a grade. They may refuse your efforts entirely, but they are also responsible for placing you into any programs that may necessitate your whole grade acceleration. Your initiative may be rewarded with an acceleration test to skip a grade.
Finally, through a mix of the above options coupled with a streak of exceptional academic success, you can work your way to skipping a grade. Act like you are already above your pay grade! Be prepared to take an additional workload and spend extra hours studying. Unfortunately, skipping a grade won’t make classes any easier: if anything, they become more difficult and stressful.
You would want to get a good look at your schedule and classes. Pick a plan that will get you the absolute bare minimum number of credits on time.
A school may have an honors program or advanced placement program, in which the student takes higher-level material relative to their grade or their current courses. If they complete these more difficult challenges, they at the very least earn additional or more worthwhile credits, and at best, allow you to accelerate through your grades and even graduate from school early.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Skip a Grade in Tennessee
We have addressed all the little, prodding questions you may have regarding skipping a grade, which now brings us around to our original question: how do we skip a grade in Tennessee? Well, the answer is, just like with any other state, you simply need to excel, engage, and work with the people who are most likely and willing to help you achieve your goal. If you play things right, you will go from the first grade to the third grade to high school and even graduate early!
Skipping a grade to another state? Check out our list below: