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Elementary School Kids Elementary School Kids

Retention is failed teaching...any thoughts on this

Posted by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 12:00 PM
  • 46 Replies

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.
7. Get a copy of the Florida retention policy. Get the minutes of the meeting in which the policy was adopted by the Florida Board of Education. Is this a proper policy?

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.

To find out who your No Child Left Behind contact is, go http://www.ed.gov/about/contacts/state/index.html

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.

Summing Up

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.

by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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Replies (1-10):
frndlyfn
by Gold Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 3:55 PM
5 moms liked this

ok this seems a very biased article on just the reading aspect of school.

wakymom
by Ruby Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 4:20 PM
7 moms liked this

I agree that this article sounds very biased. Failed teaching is not necessarily the reason for all retentions. Some kids, even w/ additional help, need another yr to grasp concepts. Some may have test anxiety that hasn't shown up until faced w/ a "pass this or fail the whole grade" test. 

Retention might not be ideal, but passing on a child who isn't ready to go on to the next grade isn't the answer, either. That child will struggle even more and that's not good for them, either.

Wish I knew what the perfect solution was- I'd be a millionaire if I did!
















urbpro
by Bronze Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 4:21 PM
3 moms liked this

Strange. I can't imagine pushing my kids through to the next grade knowing that they had not learned enough to move forward. I get that sometimes, they hold kids back based on test scores but you can usually appeal those. If I knew for a fact that my child was so far behind on his actual class work, then I would hold him back myself. Ideally though, the teacher and parents would catch the issues ahead of time and help the child move forward with his class.


 

Andrewsmom70
by Gold Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 6:35 PM
3 moms liked this
The article makes it sound like school is the enemy and teachers are either inept or out to get kids. The article presents an 'us against them' mindset and that's awful in my opinion.
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coolmommy2x
by Gold Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 6:42 PM
I agree!

I always view our teachers as partners in our kids' education and success. This year is DS's first year in middle school and I regularly email last year's teacher to thank her for her work getting him ready. I see quite a of the us against them on here though.


Quoting Andrewsmom70:

The article makes it sound like school is the enemy and teachers are either inept or out to get kids. The article presents an 'us against them' mindset and that's awful in my opinion.
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DrDoofenshmirtz
by Silver Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Most kids I have seen retained have been in kindergarten.  And for most of them it was maturity plus being very young that did them in.  So, a kid who has a July/August bday who is still crying or throwing fits daily and is not reading yet at the end of K (even with LOTS of intervention) is just not ready to progress to first.  DD has a kid in her class who did kindy twice and is now in 1st grade as an 8 year old.  He is doing great, very confident and is back on track. 

I do think that often kids used to get behind and no one worked with them, but with NCLB, there are SO many programs in place for kids struggling, this is rare.  Retention is not the first thing tried these days.  For example, my friend has a DD who is the exact age as my DD, summer bday, in 1st grade.  She is still reading at a mid kindy level at the end of 1st, even after nightly work at home and intervention at school.  Her writing is also very behind.  Even with lots of intervention, she is simply not prepared for 2nd grade, where most of her peers will be able to read everything they come across.  To put her in 2nd would not be at all helpful to her.

On the flip side, as a middle school teacher, I taught at a school once where 10% of the kids had been retained twice, closer to middle school and that was a complete disaster!  16 year olds in 8th grade is inappropriate in so many ways.  I was thrilled when those kids were able to work their way into high school (block scheduling) and go to 9th grade halfway through 8th grade.  So I think everything possible should be done to catch kids up, assess for disabilities, etc. before pursuing retention.

PinkParadox
by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 6:46 PM
Where does the parent involvement fit in?
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mjande4
by Platinum Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 6:52 PM

The studies/articles are REALLY old! The first  and second ones are over a DECADE ago. As someone else already mentioned, there are NUMEROUS safety nets in place due to NCLB. I honestly do NOT understand why, as a parent, you would want to see your child continue to struggle when you could give them an additional year to grow educationally, physically, and emotionally.

MsLogansMommy
by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 7:10 PM

 My opinion is still neutral on this which is the reason for the post I want to see other articles or valid information that proves this article wrong. Luckily I have not had to make a choice like this as of yet but my dd struggles in school and has been at risk of retention but between her teacher and myself we seem to be successful in getting her up to where she needs to be.


Quoting mjande4:

The studies/articles are REALLY old! The first  and second ones are over a DECADE ago. As someone else already mentioned, there are NUMEROUS safety nets in place due to NCLB. I honestly do NOT understand why, as a parent, you would want to see your child continue to struggle when you could give them an additional year to grow educationally, physically, and emotionally.


 

DrDoofenshmirtz
by Silver Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 7:29 PM

I agree that often parental involvement and student attendance play a big role in this, at least with many of the older students I have seen retained. Kids missing 20+ days of school, didn't do homework, fell asleep in class, behavior issues, etc.

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