When Less is More:Effects of Grade Skipping on Adult STEM Accomplishments among Mathematically Precocious Adolescents
Park, Gregory J
Using data from a 40-year longitudinal study, the authors examined three 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 (in the top 1%), a combination of exact and propensity score matching is 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 first publication earlier, and (c) accrued more total citations and highly cited publications by age 50. 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.