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Is it better to get held back or push to go on to the next grade?

My daughters teacher waited until 1/2 way through the year to tell me that she is considering to hold her back. I thought my daughter was doing well in school. She always got good marks on her school work. It wasnt until the partent teacher conference that I was informed that she need extra work with reading and math, and that she was under the class average for reading.

My daughter is in 1rst grade. Sence then I have came up with a new study plan and we have been doing homework everynight. ( I make it fun) and I have seen much impovement. I went to the next conference and the teacher informed me that she has seen much improvement, however she wont know until the end of the year if she should hold my daughter back.

If it is up to me, I dont know what route to take. My husband wants her to go on, but will this be best for her? I dont want her to strugle through school.

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Asked by karentd at 8:38 PM on Apr. 11, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (12)
  • I believe there is nothing wrong holding a child back if the teacher really feels that it is necessary. Yes it isn't what a parent wants to hear and the child isn't always happy about it, but it is better to hold them back and work on their weak areas than to just move them ahead where the child might struggle even more. I almost wish I was held back as a child because I have always been a slow learner when it comes to math. However I always slipped through the cracks and got moved up to the next level and now I cannot pass a single math class in college because I lack the understand of the basic skills I should have learned in grade school.

    Answer by Ash9724 at 8:41 PM on Apr. 11, 2009

  • i think it is better to hold her back if the teacher does not believe she is ready, than to send her on to something she may not be ready for. the teacher does this year after year and knows what is going to be expected of your child next year. we don't want to hear that our kids need more help than others but if that is what is best for them then we need to suck it up and do it.

    Answer by vabchmommy at 8:45 PM on Apr. 11, 2009

  • There are tons of factors to consider. Ask the teacher for assessment data that shows she is behind. She should have some sort of formal assessment like Dibels, SRI, Literacy First or Star testing (different states use different tests so you'd have to look into what your school does). If she's just below average then holding her back might not be best.  Get specific information on the areas she's behind in. If she's only behind in one area it won't be as difficult to catch her up. If she's behind in many areas she may be overwhelmed if she goes on. You might also get a guidance counselor or administrator to join you for a conference. Make sure they explain in detail why they want to hold her back. 

    If working extra at home is helping keep it up and be prepared to keep doing it long term.  Good luck!


    Answer by MAUREEN55 at 8:49 PM on Apr. 11, 2009

  • You've seen lots of improvement in a short time. I'd keep working with her for the rest of the school year AND over the summer and send her on to 2nd grade.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 10:58 PM on Apr. 11, 2009

  • The teacher "waited" until half way through the year because there was no way to make such a decision when the school year just started. It's better that she waited rather than after one month in school tell you she was considering holding her back!

    As for holding her back or pushing her forward...if the teacher doesn't think she can do second grade work she probably can't do second grade work. It's better she be held back in first grade rather than second, third or even higher. Here it's not up to a parent to pass the child on to a higher grade anyway.

    Keep working with her. If the teacher is seeing such improvement, you're on the right track! Keep it up and if the teacher does pass her on to the next grade, be sure to keep working with her!

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:19 AM on Apr. 12, 2009

  • The teacher should have told you sooner than half way through the year that she was struggling. She probably wasn't thinking of holding her back though until then, but obviously if you had known more in advance you could have been working with her more.

    If you have seen improvement and the teacher has seen improvement, I would consider letting her go on. However, I would only let her go on if you plan to work with her yourself over the summer and possibly even get her a tutor.

    Here they have an intervention program that as soon as they recognize that someone is behind they use. SD was in it for reading second semester last year and this year. Last year she had extra reading at home and did one on one time with a special teacher. This year she is grouped with others in the same boat and they work together. She had to have a tutor last summer to keep her up on her reading. And I had her do some math as well.

    Answer by aly38914290 at 10:16 AM on Apr. 12, 2009

  • I think that holding a child back can hurt their confidence. As my SD's confidence improves so does her reading. So we keep encouraging her and working with her to keep her on track. Also, if they are held back then they have to do stuff that they don't need review on so they could be bored and even do worse. I am not saying this is true for every child, but my SD it would have been.

    Kids learn so much in first grade.

    I say keep working with her, get her a tutor for the summer, and work with her on top of the tutoring to make sure she keeps up. Then when she gets in second grade see where she is. Obviously keep working with her as much as you need. I think some kids just need more help than others.

    Answer by aly38914290 at 10:18 AM on Apr. 12, 2009

  • There is so much for kids to learn in first grade and it only gets harder. If the teacher thinks she needs another year in first grade it may not be a bad idea. You could also ask if summer school or tutoring would be enough help for her to do fine in second grade. Some schools wait until the end of the school year to make final decisions about holding kids back, they may improve enoughh that they can go on.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 10:50 PM on Apr. 12, 2009

  • Well, 2nd grade is hard. I do know that. If shes having trouble with 1st grade, then I would consider it for sure. Does she have a late birthday? That might be helpful to her if she does have to stay back. Its not harmful to their confidence at all, but what can be is them being behind the entire class grade wise. If you move her forward and shes not ready and she ends up failing miserably, then that would be more harmful to her self esteem. The point of school is to learn and comprehend the information, not to make sure all the kids are the same age around you, or some sort of competition. I believe as a parent, its your decision. I know I would be upset if it wasnt being that I am the sole guardian of my child, but I would definately take the teachers advice. Shes been with her all year long and can see a bigger picture. Whatever you decide, make sure its whats best for the child and not what it looks like to everyone else.

    Answer by momofsaee at 8:53 AM on Apr. 13, 2009

  • being held back can hurt their confidence. my SD was worried sick about it last year because she knew she was behind. Being held back means you are behind your class. my SD knows this and would think she wasnt smart if she were held back. i think it depends on the child. she is somewhat emotional, but i know that she would be so unhappy if she had been held back last year. and as momofsaee said, dont worry about anyone else but what is best for your child. obviously the teacher has not made a decision yet. keep working with your child. and look into summer school or tutoring. in some cases a child needs to repeat - especially if they are behind in ALL areas or MOST. however as another mom said, if its just one area, work with the child, get tutoring, etc.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:12 AM on Apr. 13, 2009

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