Saturday 7 September 2013

Retention or Promotion? What is Best for Your Child?

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I am yet to find the perfect argument either for or against the issue of retention of students. From my 21 years of teaching experience there has been many successes and failures when it comes to keeping kids down rather than promoting them with their peers. One of the successes that I have seen with retention was an increase in the performance rate of some struggling students. Although these students were left behind by at least two years they were able to 'catch up', well enough to move on successfully to a higher level of education. On the other hand, in many cases increases in behavior problems were associated with retained students. Some children who are kept down become so disruptive at times and of course their influence among the younger students seem to be far greater than the teacher's ability to cope.

Reasons For Retention

Experts in this arena say that retention must be for specific reasons. According to Colleen Stump, former Chairperson of the Special Education Department at San Francisco State University, retention may be considered when a child:
  • Has significant struggles making progress in reading, writing or math
  • Fails to reach performance levels expected for promotion to the next grade
  • Appears to be "immature" and "young" for her age
I have seen cases where an attempt was made to keep back children for social reasons external to them which I think is outrageous! The child in question scored high when assessed and had no presenting problems, except that his feuding parents would keep him away from school for days on end. I dealt with that swiftly, needless to say! It is rather unfortunate that our children can be affected negatively through no fault of theirs.

Factors To Consider 

The experts say that we need to think before we decide the future of our children. According to Stump, there are certain criteria which hold important when we want to consider whether to promote or demote students.
The following factors are what teachers and parents should look at (Parents replace the word 'student' with 'child'):

Colleen Stump

Only after you go through these considerations  would you be able to make a better decision as to whether you promote or demote a child.

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