Ann Althouse blogs about how grade skipping is coming back into vogue:
I remember when grade-skipping went out of fashion. It was right around the time when I was in grade school. My mother told me later that they wanted me to skip, and she was adamantly against it. I was outraged that I wasn't asked and that I was stuck with a whole extra year of sitting in a classroom.
Everyone's experience is different, of course, which is part of the point that Prof. Althouse is making (her mom skipped a grade, hated it, and resolved not to make the same "mistake" for her daughter). There are undeniable benefits to grade skipping, as Prof. Althouse notes: no need for "gifted" classes, more efficiency, etc.
At the same time, I wonder if she discounts too quickly the conventional explanation given for not having kids skip grades: "The whole explanation was a social one, as if life will be so wonderful if only you're surrounded by kids your own age."
I skipped a grade somewhere between 6th and 10th grades (unclear which one -- long story), and also have a birthday late in the year, which meant that I was 14 when I started 11th grade. Being skinny and also only 5'5" was not exactly an ideal physical state to be in. By the time I started college at 16, at least I was 5'10", but then I was only 120 pounds. (Running cross-country that first quarter eliminated any possibility of the "freshman 15," which would have been a welcome gain in my case.) I can't say that I was scarred irrevocably by the whole experience, since I am quite happy where I am now, and the twists and turns that brought me here almost certainly wouldn't have happened if I hadn't set off for college at 16.
But at the same time, the social aspect of schooling is not an insignificant one, and being a scrawny, small 14 year old amongst a bunch of much bigger 16 year olds -- even when intellectually I was at least their match -- was almost certainly suboptimal in a lot of ways.
Which leads me to wonder whether grade skipping causes more social problems for boys than it does girls. After all, girls mature physically and emotionally faster and earlier than boys do, so a 14 year old girl may (in general) be more capable of coping in an environment full of 16 year old girls and boys than a 14 year old boy would be able to.