Are you a parent wondering how you can help your child to skip a grade in Washington? Are you curious about the stipulations or what you and your child need to do? You have come to the right place.
It’s imperative that when you are looking to make the jump or nudge your child to make the jump, you understand the proper steps to take. Each state and, even more specifically, each school can have its own rules for skipping a grade. We will help you understand those rules and determine if it is possible.
All you have to do to obtain this information and more is keep reading. You will not regret it.
Can You Skip a Grade in Washington State?
If you were expecting the state of Washington to have a policy surrounding whole grade acceleration, it currently does not exist. The state does not largely govern a child’s ability to accelerate entire grade levels. This is handled at the local level. These local districts will develop guidelines for grade skipping and any grade skipping tests needed.
Washington does have several policies related to uniform entry, which may stop a student from skipping a grade at the beginning of their educational tenure. However, some districts may have exceptions to bypass this rule if necessary. For example, kindergarten students must be five by September 1 to begin kindergarten classes. However, local educational authorities can adjust these rules as needed.
What Qualifies Someone to Skip a Grade?
If you are attempting to determine if your child is ready to skip a grade or what actions and behaviors lead to skipping a grade, the following list will help you understand what to look for. Though grade skipping has proven to be a controversial topic, it still needs to be openly discussed and addressed. Though grade skipping is rare, it is not unheard of. There are several reasons why a student may skip a grade; the following list shows the most common reasons. If you feel that any of these listed items reflect situations your child is going through, it may be time to seek counsel.
Excessive Academic Achievement
One of the main reasons that a student skips a grade is because of their high academic achievement. If you find that your child is outperforming the other students or consistently scoring above and beyond their level on standardized tests, grade skipping may be beneficial for you to look into. However, entire grade advancement usually is granted when a student is proficient in all areas. If a student is only gifted in one or two areas, it may be possible to advance in a single area if the school permits.
Try to work on some of these things with your child to assess if they are ready to move to those topics. It may be helpful to glance at the curriculum for the next grade level. This may be a significant intermediate step to determine if you should start the conversations with your child’s school about grade skipping.
Lack of Interest in Schoolwork or Classroom Activities
Though being a child prodigy should not be the first thing you consider, it shouldn’t be ruled out. If you see that your child is bored and not taking an interest in school, it may be time to take action. This may mean they are not being challenged in ways necessary to grow. Boredom can also show itself in other ways, like acting out or even becoming the class clown.
In some states, testing is another means for determining if our child should be bumped up a whole grade level or by courses. These exams will often be administered by the school and will need to be determined on a child-by-child basis. If you suspect your child is gifted, reach out to your school. Often a written Request from School/ Counselor Guidance will aid the student in getting to this assessment faster. Teachers or guidance counselors may also suggest strong students for advancement.
There are several grade-skipping pros and cons. These will need to be weighed individually, and consideration will be made depending on the student.
What are the Requirements to Skip a Grade in Washington?
As you would suspect, each different state or even each different educational district has its own specifications for grade skipping or acceleration. However, as mentioned earlier, Washington has no policy about skipping a grade. Though this is handed at a local level, they have guidelines for receiving dual credit.
This program is specific to high school students and allows them to receive high school and college credits at the same time. This will include traditional routes like AP, IB, or CI courses. Other options allow students to enroll concurrently for high school and college-level classes. This can be in person or virtually, depending on what your institution allows.
One example of how some districts in Washington are approaching grade acceleration and subject acceleration is the Bainbridge Island School District 303. They have adopted practices like the Highly Capable Program to ensure students get the challenges they need without skipping complete grades.
The Highly Capable Program is available for grades k-12. The program functions slightly differently based on the grade level that the student is in. Different grade levels will have slightly different options. Students must take a grade-skipping test to get into this program and maintain certain academic thresholds to remain a part of it. Students who transfer schools need to re-test to be considered highly capable at a new home school.
Grade k – 4th
If your highly capable student is in fourth grade and under, they will still be homed in a regular classroom. However, students will be grouped to ensure that they are working with other highly capable students. A certified teacher would be the liaison for the program. This teacher would provide support for these gifted students while in class, and there would even be opportunities for students to be pulled out of class to participate in additional activities.
Grades 5th to 8th
Within these grades, students are differentiated by their subject of capability. This can be mathematics or English language arts. Once it has been determined that a child is highly capable and in which areas, these students will be grouped together for learning. They will have the opportunity to participate in enrichment groups, higher-level programs, and at times a compact curriculum.
Once a student gets into high school, their guidance counselor will now be a student’s point of contact for the program. They will not only be in contact with the student but the parent as well for any additional needs or opportunities that could be beneficial for the student.
During high school, there are several avenues for advanced placement, including not only programs and honors offered by the program but also advanced placement courses and even potential for dual enrollment.
If you are looking for information specific to your child, check with their school’s district. There you will be able to find information on potential advanced placement programs, honors courses, and any elementary options.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Skip a Grade in Washington?
Knowing how to skip a grade in Washington is something that would likely need to be handled on a per-district basis. Unfortunately, Washington does not have a blanket policy at the state level this time. However, in seeing the example of the Bainbridge Island School District, you can see how programs have been adopted to supplement students skipping entire grade levels. Instead, gifted student groups have been adopted to help students learn together.