Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Effects of grade skipping on adult STEM accomplishments among mathematically precocious youth

Using data from a 40-year longitudinal study, the authors of this study examined 3 related hypotheses about the effects of grade skipping on future educational and occupational outcomes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). From a combined sample of 3,467 mathematically precocious students (top 1%), a combination of exact and propensity score matching was used to create balanced comparison groups of 363 grade skippers and 657 matched controls.

Results suggest that grade skippers (a) were more likely to pursue advanced degrees in STEM and author peer-reviewed publications in STEM, (b) earned their degrees and authored their 1st publication earlier, and (c) accrued more total citations and highly cited publications by age 50 years. These patterns were consistent among male participants but less so among female participants (who had a greater tendency to pursue advanced degrees in medicine or law).

Findings suggest that grade skipping may enhance STEM accomplishments among the mathematically talented.

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