Retention is failed teaching...any thoughts on this
Since we have had some discussions on retention I did some research and this is what I came up with I was wondering if anyone has any valid and substantial information refuting this.
Research about Retention
"Research tells us that fear and humiliation are not the strongest motivators for struggling students." (The Grade Retention Fallacy published by the Harvard Civil Rights Project)
There is NO research that retention benefits children. There is a substantial body of research about the negative consequences of retention.
* Retained children have more problems after retention.
* Retention is expensive.
* Retention does not increase academic success.
* Retention is directly correlated with increased drop-out rates
Strategies to Fight Mandatory Retention Policies
Here are strategies that parents can use to fight mandatory retention policies.
1. Parents should request a complete copy of their child's school file. The school may prefer that the parent come into the school to examine the child's records.
2. Parents should get copies of all reading assessments done in K-3. Find out what specific reading problems were identified in these assessments and what research exists to show that the program used by the child's teacher was appropriate to remediate these particular problems.
3. Find out what intensive reading program the child participated in, how often, and whether the teacher was trained to teach that particular program. Intensive remedial reading programs are often taught one-to-one for an hour or more a day.
4. Contact the Florida Branch of the International Dyslexia Association for information about research based assessment and reading programs that are appropriate for K-3 children who have reading problems.
5. Read these publications about retention from the National Association of School Psychologists:
Grade Retention - Achievement and Mental Health Outcomes
"6th grade students rated grade retention as the single most stressful life event, higher than the loss of a parent or going blind. Retained students are less likely to receive a high school diploma by age 20, receive poorer educational competence ratings, and are less likely to be enrolled in any post-secondary education program. Retained students receive lower educational and employment status ratings and are paid less per hour at age 20."
Position Statement on Student Grade Retention and Social Promotion
"Through many years of research, the practice of retaining children in grade has been shown to be ineffective in meeting the needs of children who are academically delayed."
For more information and resources about retention and social promotion, visit the Retention & Social Promotion page on Wrightslaw.
6. If the child target for retention has an IEP, the parents should have a serious discussion with members of their child's IEP team.
"If my child's IEP was appropriate, why did it not prepare my child for what the school requires my child to know?"
"We need to amend the IEP to add the specialized instruction that is necessary for my child to participate in the general curriculum with her peers. She needs 1-1 tutoring with a research-based reading method this summer. We need to add 1:1 tutoring in a research-based reading method to her IEP for the next school year.
Since the Florida statute says, "It is the ultimate goal of the Legislature that every student read at or above grade level," ask the Florida Department of Education for research that a mandatory retention policy will produce the desired results.
8. The Reading First Grant that provides funding for Florida's reading program has requirements in exchange for the grant. I doubt retention is one of these requirements. Get a copy of your state's Reading First Grant application.
Was mass retention included in the plan approved by the U. S. Department of Education? Reading First Grants
9. File a formal No Child Left Behind complaint with the US Department of Education.
A concise well-documented letter should suffice. Send written documentation of your facts along with the letter. Send copies, not originals. Do not write on original documents. You may need the original later.
10. Educate Others
You cannot fight this battle alone. Give this information to other people so they can help. Print the documents listed in this article. Bring these documents with you when you talk to school administrators, legislators, or people who work for the Florida Department of Education.
Parents will need to make a case for each child that the school has not taught.
However, if the school completed the required assessments and correctly identified the child's weaknesses and if the child received intensive reading instruction from a properly qualified teacher who used an appropriate research-based reading program, VERY few children will fall into the proposed retention category.
If more than a handful of children are forced to stay behind so the school can try to be more successful in the fourth year than they were in the first three years, there is a problem with the education of school board members and superintendents.
Retention is a primitive approach to failed teaching. There is NO research that retention benefits children and substantial research that retention damages children.