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Skipping a grade - possible in Thai schools?


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I am hoping some of the teachers on this forum can answer this.

 

I have a Cambodian worker whose wife and daughter are here with him. The daughter came at age 9 having been in 4th grade in Cambodia. As she spoke no Thai, the local school put her in Kindegarten first, enrolling in the second half of the school year.. After just one semester her Thai was fluent and they skipped her to Grade 2 starting the next term. She completed Grades 2 and 3 at the head of her class, with top marks in all subjects including Thai. Her written and spoken Thai are excellent and she is leaps and bounds ahead of the other students. In addition, she is now 11 years old and i about to start puberty, so physically and socially  ahead of her grade level as well. I am afraid she will get teased and feel increasingly self conscious because of it. In addition of course to being thoroughly bored.

 

Last year I went to talk to the teacher about letting her skip at least one  year ahead at the next term and was told this is impossible to do in Thailand, there is no system for it.

 

I am thinking of trying again, this time with the Principal, but would like first to find out what the actual story is regarding skipping a grade. Please advise and, if in fact this can be done ,any tops on how to make it happen would be appreciated. (?District education office? etc)

 

it seems insane for a top, advanced student to be made to stay in a class of students years younger than her and graduate years later than she should.

 

 

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Skipping a grade is something I have never heard of.   I know that they will place students in a grade lower but not ahead.   We have had students who went to different countries as foreign exchange students.   When they returned they were placed back in the grade they were in when they left.   The school year overseas counted for nothing.  

It won't hurt to try, but why would they have a system that lets you place them behind and not ahead.  

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If it is a private school, they COULD, but I don't know that they would.  Government schools are different and they may have less latitude.  

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Yes, it is possible, but is much easier to do in a private school.  Even then, the private school will fight it because they don't like losing the tuition money for one year. 

Teachers and administrators in government schools are civil servants though they dislike that terminology and prefer to be called government officers, which is why they are so fond of their military style uniforms.  As such, they think they are special and do not like any changes in routine that come from outside their ranks.  If possible, I suggest that you, along with some other non-Thais, try to sponsor the child and move her to a private school.   Where in Thailand are you located?  I am in Chiang Mai.  If you are anywhere near me, I would be willing to meet with you and see what could be done.  By the way, I am a retired teacher.

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I've never heard of anyone skipping a class. The only thing I've seen was kids starting 1st grade a year earlier, and that's not very common either. 

As for puberty - I don't think that's a big problem. I've seen 3rd grade girls which are very much developed and 6th grade kids that look like very little girls. I think Thai society is very open minded to differences. I've seen retarded kids both in a regular kindergarten and a regular school and seems the other kids just accept them as they are. 

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Thoughts only:

 

First I would try talking with the principal and if it is not going well, then mention that you might want to transfer to another school... but not just as a bluff, I would be willing to do it... 

 

I think even home school might be an option. Continuing on the same path should not be. 

 

** I would also include her in the decision if she will voice an opinion - children here can be shy about such matters. 

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3 hours ago, CM Dad said:

Yes, it is possible, but is much easier to do in a private school.  Even then, the private school will fight it because they don't like losing the tuition money for one year. 

Teachers and administrators in government schools are civil servants though they dislike that terminology and prefer to be called government officers, which is why they are so fond of their military style uniforms.  As such, they think they are special and do not like any changes in routine that come from outside their ranks.  If possible, I suggest that you, along with some other non-Thais, try to sponsor the child and move her to a private school.   Where in Thailand are you located?  I am in Chiang Mai.  If you are anywhere near me, I would be willing to meet with you and see what could be done.  By the way, I am a retired teacher.

 

Seems to me there's another critical point to consider.

 

Do some research to list any foundations she might miss by jumping a year to a higher grade.

 

IMHO there would be some missing foundations and the most important would be Maths, followed by Science, then Language.

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17 hours ago, Scott said:

Skipping a grade is something I have never heard of.   I know that they will place students in a grade lower but not ahead.   We have had students who went to different countries as foreign exchange students.   When they returned they were placed back in the grade they were in when they left.   The school year overseas counted for nothing.  

It won't hurt to try, but why would they have a system that lets you place them behind and not ahead.  

Because this is Thailand, common sense is uncommon and rational thinking is not something easy to find.

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Posted (edited)

Some years back I had worked at a private school. We had a student come in from another country in the region here. She was absolutely brilliant and could have been placed 2 years above her age.

 

Let's just say her age would have allowed her to be in either M3 or M2. The school elected to place her in M2 because she had no Thai language skills whatsoever.  This was pretty tragic for her academically. I saw her deteriorate in the months ahead. The HoD even went to the administration and pleaded her case. I left the school after that year so I don't know what happened to her. The teachers there had the opinion that the school wanted her in the lower grade simply because they could sqeeeeze the parents for another year of Education.

 

Therefore, my advice would be to show up at a public school and enroll her at her age level. You might even try a really crappy public school, one that doesn't care. Once she's in she can study hard and take the onet in an attempt to get into a far better school in M1 or M4.

 

Khmer is not really anything like Thai although they counting system is similar. But it is not a far stretch to think that she could learn Thai fairly rapidly. The two languages do share some words. The script is not similar but it is based on Pali. Easy for her to write.

 

Good luck. It's always great to hear about positive learning experiences and outcomes.

 

Edited by kynikoi
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20 hours ago, Scott said:

We have had students who went to different countries as foreign exchange students.   When they returned they were placed back in the grade they were in when they left.   The school year overseas counted for nothing.  

 

The reason this occurs is because either the student did not coordinate with their foreign school as well as a service that will verify the grades and send them back to the school which can then be added onto their transcript.

 

Many students don't do this for whatever reason.

 

If they do this then it's possible that they don't have to repeat.

 

If they don't do this they most certainly will need to repeat.

 

I found two issues with students repeating not that it's related to the topic.

 

At one really excellent public School the students were by and large quite happy to repeat. There were others that were just interested in getting on with life.

 

In another very good private school in which I had taught many of the students came back changed. The school shelters the students quite a bit and they had seen the outside world taking a bite of the apple and loved it. They had left as children and returned as adults. Some of these students really struggled through the year and did not have the support of their original homeroom. I would say that 80% of the students at this school that did go abroad and returned were minorly depressed and we're trying to do everything they could to get back overseas particularly to the United States.

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She  is in a government school. So tuition does not enter into it. And no possibility to change school as it is based on house registration.

 

I have considered private school but simply can't afford it. It would also require a substantial commute. I'm in Prachinburi and not in the town.

 

So is is sounding like it may be true that there is no system in public education here that would allow for skipping a grade? Bad news. But may save me a futile meeting and pontentially alienating her teacher, who told me she had already asked the principal and told it was impossible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, kynikoi said:

Some years back I had worked at a private school. We had a student come in from another country in the region here. She was absolutely brilliant and could have been placed 2 years above her age.

 

Let's just say her age would have allowed her to be in either M3 or M2. The school elected to place her in M2 because she had no Thai language skills whatsoever.  This was pretty tragic for her academically. I saw her deteriorate in the months ahead. The HoD even went to the administration and pleaded her case. I left the school after that year so I don't know what happened to her. The teachers there had the opinion that the school wanted her in the lower grade simply because they could sqeeeeze the parents for another year of Education.

 

Therefore, my advice would be to show up at a public school and enroll her at her age level. You might even try a really crappy public school, one that doesn't care. Once she's in she can study hard and take the onet in an attempt to get into a far better school in M1 or M4.

 

Khmer is not really anything like Thai although they counting system is similar. But it is not a far stretch to think that she could learn Thai fairly rapidly. The two languages do share some words. The script is not similar but it is based on Pali. Easy for her to write.

 

Good luck. It's always great to hear about positive learning experiences and outcomes.

 

 

She is already enrolled in a public school. and her Thai is already completely fluent, in fact she leads the class on Thai exams.

 

What/when is the onet?

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6 hours ago, scorecard said:

 

Seems to me there's another critical point to consider.

 

Do some research to list any foundations she might miss by jumping a year to a higher grade.

 

IMHO there would be some missing foundations and the most important would be Maths, followed by Science, then Language.

 

She is easily 3 years ahead of her class in Math already. And well ahead in both English and Thai.  There doesn't seem to be much in the way of science in the primary curriculum here that I can tell.

 

During the first school shutdown from COVID I tutored her in Math and in the space of 2 weeks we went from only single digit arithmatic to long division, 3 digit multiplication, fractions and decimals. All new and she mastered it all in a flash, and that's in just a short session a day from someone with zero teaching experience (me).  We got to the point where there was nowhere left to go but algebra and I didn't want to go that far ahead of her school.  As it is, when school opened back up she was of course utterly bored, so much so that we agreed to drop it as it just puts her further ahead of her classmates.

 

Her teacher agrees she could easily jump a year or 2 with absolutely no academic difficulty. The problem seems to be that the Thai public school systems doesn't allow for this.

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My grand scheme is to simply change schools and see what happens. By visiting another school you're not committing to anything and if the school will accept the student and admit to a higher grade than great. If not you're just sort of stuck.

 

She really should be with her peers because she can operate at that level now. The strike against her is merely that she got thrown into a lower grade.

 

Onets are standardized exams that are given at different grade levels. Aside from assessing where students fall academically in the nation they are also used to apply to schools at different points in their academic career as mentioned before.

 

Students jump to different schools in M1 and M4 in particular.

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8 minutes ago, kynikoi said:

My grand scheme is to simply change schools and see what happens. By visiting another school you're not committing to anything and if the school will accept the student and admit to a higher grade than great. If not you're just sort of stuck.

 

She really should be with her peers because she can operate at that level now. The strike against her is merely that she got thrown into a lower grade.

 

Onets are standardized exams that are given at different grade levels. Aside from assessing where students fall academically in the nation they are also used to apply to schools at different points in their academic career as mentioned before.

 

Students jump to different schools in M1 and M4 in particular.

Are the Onets still done?

I asked a Thai teacher because GF's daughter goes to an international school, and was told "not such a big thing nowadays" Is this true?

Asked because GF thought daughter might need to find a way to do them in case needed in the future by prospective employers.

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1 minute ago, phetphet said:

Are the Onets still done?

I asked a Thai teacher because GF's daughter goes to an international school, and was told "not such a big thing nowadays" Is this true?

Asked because GF thought daughter might need to find a way to do them in case needed in the future by prospective employers.

 

Very recently there has been huge public discussion about discontinuing the onets. This year I'm almost certain the m6 were done and I think that M3 were done. Prathom may not have had onets.

 

For the purpose that I suggested to Cheryl it's possible that schools will fall back on their own entrance exams. This is a bit complicated for your average to a bit above average school. The top tier schools public schools will have their own entrance exams for M1 and M4.

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19 minutes ago, kynikoi said:

My grand scheme is to simply change schools and see what happens. By visiting another school you're not committing to anything and if the school will accept the student and admit to a higher grade than great. If not you're just sort of stuck.

 

 

 

Is that really possible in the government school system? I thought, like the government health care system, it was based on place of residence. We had to show tabian ban listing to get her into this school.....?

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6 minutes ago, Sheryl said:

 

Is that really possible in the government school system? I thought, like the government health care system, it was based on place of residence. We had to show tabian ban listing to get her into this school.....?

 

Yes I would say that it's very possible. Of course I've never taught outside of Bangkok and quite frankly at only excellent public schools. But from that the students have traveled from all over Bangkok to attend these schools.

 

In addition to that there is always a quota that the school must take in from the local area. I think that's about 25% but it's going to depend on the size of the school.

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16 minutes ago, phetphet said:

international school, and was told "not such a big thing nowadays" I

 

Students that graduate from international schools I don't believe are required to take onet. M6 students have literally half a dozen exams they have to take to qualify for University. Without the own at the student doesn't graduate from non-international schools.

 

All of those exams are required and must be entered into the TCAS system for student admissions to University.

 

Students entering International programs do not need to take most if not all of those traditional Thai standardized exams. But the ones coming from non-international schools will have to take the own at for their high school diploma.

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18 minutes ago, Sheryl said:

 

Is that really possible in the government school system? I thought, like the government health care system, it was based on place of residence. We had to show tabian ban listing to get her into this school.....?

 

I will ask, but we were absolutely told listing in a tabian ban for that area was required to enrol in school here. 

 

Perhaps the fact that she is a not a Thai citizen is a factor?

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10 hours ago, LukKrueng said:

I've never heard of anyone skipping a class. The only thing I've seen was kids starting 1st grade a year earlier, and that's not very common either. 

As for puberty - I don't think that's a big problem. I've seen 3rd grade girls which are very much developed and 6th grade kids that look like very little girls. I think Thai society is very open minded to differences. I've seen retarded kids both in a regular kindergarten and a regular school and seems the other kids just accept them as they are. 

Hahahahahha.......retarded kids....I got berated for saying that at work a while ago.

Glad im not the only one who hasn't gone all P.C .

By the way, I was told it was....special needs kids........still retards in my book.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Sheryl said:

 

I will ask, but we were absolutely told listing in a tabian ban for that area was required to enrol in school here. 

 

Perhaps the fact that she is a not a Thai citizen is a factor?

 

I'm totally out on a limb here. Dunno if a factor but the student I'd initially discussed was also a foreign national (private school). No idea. But private school so can draw from everywhere.

 

Actually, just recalled something. I'd heard somewhere that only Thai students can go to Thai schools. Of course, there's that rare kid that does an exchange for a year.

 

Another long term option might be to not graduate from HS but to get a GED and then jump to university. Some years back I had a student who was attending my school and Chula concurrently. I don't know all the particulars. She was never in class lol.

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Thanks. She is still in primary school (going into grade 4) so high school is a ways off. And the family may be back in Cambodia by then.

 

Children of migrant workers can enroll in school under the law. In practice it can be difficult and, at least out where I am, requires listing in a tabian ban and some degree of persistant lobbying.   I definitely could not have gotten her without the tabian ban and pink ID card.

 

I am told that even Thais cannot enrol except in the designated school for their district. Maybe this differs between Bangkok and rural areas.

 

This  is sounding like this is a nonstarter for now.  I had thought maybe skipping a grade was possible but either the school did not know the process or it was a lot of paperwork for them...but sounds like in fact it is just not done here.

 

When she is a bit older, if still in Thailand, I may hunt around and see if there are any private international boarding schools that might give her a scholarship. It  would have to be a boarding situation as there are none near enough to me for her to attend as a day student. Right now she is still not comfortable being away from her parents so even if I could find her a scholarship would not go. But in a few years this will likely change.

 

 

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On 5/18/2021 at 7:05 PM, Sheryl said:

 

She is easily 3 years ahead of her class in Math already. And well ahead in both English and Thai.  There doesn't seem to be much in the way of science in the primary curriculum here that I can tell.

 

During the first school shutdown from COVID I tutored her in Math and in the space of 2 weeks we went from only single digit arithmatic to long division, 3 digit multiplication, fractions and decimals. All new and she mastered it all in a flash, and that's in just a short session a day from someone with zero teaching experience (me).  We got to the point where there was nowhere left to go but algebra and I didn't want to go that far ahead of her school.  As it is, when school opened back up she was of course utterly bored, so much so that we agreed to drop it as it just puts her further ahead of her classmates.

 

Her teacher agrees she could easily jump a year or 2 with absolutely no academic difficulty. The problem seems to be that the Thai public school systems doesn't allow for this.

Perhaps have her do the regular classwork (I assume she does it very quickly), and have her do some supplementary work in class time after that - you should as the school about that. I suggest you supply the materials, or ask her teachers if they want to help with that too. Don't make it seem like more work for them. Have her return the work home and you can look at it. That may reduce the class tedium for her. I've occasionally given more challenging work to students, but not too many, as they are roughly at the same level. I've had a few kids study from entrance exam books too, when they finish their regular class work. 

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On 5/18/2021 at 4:06 PM, Sheryl said:

 

I will ask, but we were absolutely told listing in a tabian ban for that area was required to enrol in school here. 

 

Perhaps the fact that she is a not a Thai citizen is a factor?

Also documentation from the old school to show grades and years completed.

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On 5/17/2021 at 8:12 PM, Scott said:

Skipping a grade is something I have never heard of.   I know that they will place students in a grade lower but not ahead.

Agreed. I've had some bright M1's bored out of their minds with the simple lessons, running circles around the others, annoyed that I had to tell them to quit giving the answers, and give everyone else a chance. They were better than many M3s and some M4s. But there was no bumping them, and this was in private school.

 

I'm guessing there's more money to be made making them do all the grades, or do more years but not less. Of course they'll never say that, the excuse is probably that it needs to be fair, and everyone does all the years.

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On 5/17/2021 at 8:12 PM, Scott said:

Skipping a grade is something I have never heard of.   I know that they will place students in a grade lower but not ahead.   We have had students who went to different countries as foreign exchange students.   When they returned they were placed back in the grade they were in when they left.   The school year overseas counted for nothing.  

It won't hurt to try, but why would they have a system that lets you place them behind and not ahead.  

You can go forward a year but many directors will say no as it causes them extra work and also the philosophy of many of them is to continually put the kids down, raising their own importance. This isn't done easily by basically tell a student that they are better than the rest their age. I've see excellent students being put forward a year and even graduating from high school early and going to university aged 16. however, these students were called "premium students" as they gave the school a good name. Similarly, kids who are in soap operas can get special privileges. This ain't going to happen to a Kymer student(sorry Sheryll). The only way would be to pay a large sum of money, which I wouldn't advise as if they think the kid has a foreign sponsor, they will milk you in later years and might give the kids bad treatment. 

Scott, I believe  kids returning from foreign exchanges have to resit certain years but only due to pressure from some faculties at universities, i.e medical faculties don't allow a foreign year. 

 

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On 5/19/2021 at 11:50 AM, Sheryl said:

Children of migrant workers can enroll in school under the law. In practice it can be difficult and, at least out where I am, requires listing in a tabian ban and some degree of persistant lobbying.   I definitely could not have gotten her without the tabian ban and pink ID card.

 

I am told that even Thais cannot enrol except in the designated school for their district. Maybe this differs between Bangkok and rural areas.

It is not a legal requirement for a foreigner to be on a housebook to get entry into school. A passport should be enough. They are probably just making a problem so you can ask how to unmake it. 

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3 minutes ago, Neeranam said:

It is not a legal requirement for a foreigner to be on a housebook to get entry into school. A passport should be enough. They are probably just making a problem so you can ask how to unmake it. 

It is not just migrants. Where I live, all children, Thais included, must be listed in a housebook in that district to enrol at that school.

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