Grade Retention in
The academic success
or failure of a child, is a shared responsibility between
parents, teachers, and the student. To reverse a path
toward failure, parents that see their child having
difficulties with course material must intervene swiftly,
especially in elementary and middle school grades. These
are the really tough battles for parents not only because
of the time and energy that will be demanded, but because
it is also a very stressful time for both you and your
child. The parent of a failing child must become a
mediator, a tutor, a motivator, and a supervisor.
mediator, you are the liaison between your child, and his
or her teacher. Most teachers only want what is best
for their students. They are encouraging, caring,
motivating and positive participants in a child's academic
success. What needs to be underscored however, is
that this type of teacher should not be a parent's dream
come true. This kind of teacher needs to be demanded
by all parents of public school children. Teachers accept
the responsibility and should feel a sense of
obligation to educate each and every child in their class.
Parents need to know that it is a teacher’s responsibility
to find a way to help all of
their students be successful academically.
As parents we must hold our
educators equally accountable in a child's academic
success or failure and parents must demand that teachers
and administrators participate fully in implementing a
plan to effect a full reversal from a path toward failure.
Academic failure is typically viewed as a reflection of
the child's inability to retain and process information,
however that same incidence of failure can just as easily
be reflective of a teacher's inability to motivate and
stimulate the desire to learn in a
student. As parents we must investigate, and insist
upon having the opportunity
to evaluate what happens inside the classroom before we
can begin to help our children.
Your first step
is to ask for a conference with your child's teacher and
then parents must prepare themselves to
ask the tough questions.
How many years have you taught at this
Is your field of study math, science,
elementary education, ... etc?
What percentages of your student’s pass
or fail each year?
Do you have National Board
Have you reviewed my child’s academic
background thoroughly? Then
ask for those facts to be repeated to you.
Do you perceive any kind of learning
disability in my child?
What do you see as the biggest
hindrance to my child’s academic success?
What have you done thus far to help my
child better perform academically?
What recommendations do you have for me
to help my child at home to better prepare for class?
What procedures are you going to put in
place to further assist my child inside the classroom?
What day’s can you help my child after
What kind of interactions have you
noticed with my child and your other students?
What day of the week may I come by and
sit in on your class to observe my child?
suggest that parents never leave their school’s
administration out of the picture. Talk to your principal
about your concerns, and let your child’s teacher know
that you have addressed your concerns with the school's
administration. This introduces accountability on all
levels, and for all participants. Ask the
administrator of the school what your local board of
education dictates as intervention procedures for
struggling students, and make sure those intervention
steps are implemented for your child?
also over come the fear of "over-reacting" to a child's
poor academic performance. Parent's often opt for a
"wait and see" position to poor grades rather than jumping
in with both feet. Afraid of being viewed as a
nuisance to a teacher or an over protective parent,...
many parents wait too late to become involved. The
more failures you child experiences, the more difficult it
becomes to obtain even an average score at the end
of a grading period. Don't wait! Ask your
child's teacher to notify you immediately of problems your
child is experiencing in class and request as many
conferences as it takes to achieve a positive outcome.
The parent of a
struggling child must also make the time to become involved
with their children academically. This means lot's of homework,
staying on top of assignments, studying for test, drills
and practice sessions even when homework is not assigned,
finding creative ways to motivate your child, and if
necessary researching sources for outside assistance.
Bottom line, you’re going back to
school. Not only are you responsible for your
daily task as employee and/or parent, … you have to accept
and add on your child’s academic responsibilities to your
"To Do" list as well. You will be exhausted and at times
frustrated, but ultimately greatly rewarded for your
efforts and investment of time. Our homework
page has wonderful links that will help you help your
child, and as this section continues to develop, we will
look for additional links that will help with more
Based on age appropriate expectations, establishing a
sense of accountability and commitment in your child's
attitude toward schoolwork is key, and discipline will
become the word of the day. This
is perhaps the most difficult part of a turn around
Parent's must make their academic expectations of their
children clear and reasonable. Lay down the ground
rules and then stick to them. No matter how much
they whine, no matter how exhausted your day, and no
matter how stressful things may become, ... you must
establish a homework routine and stick with it. Set
a goal, give consistent positive motivation, praise the
victories, reward the
accomplishments, and let your child know that they are not
alone. When lapses occur, there should be
appropriate consequences to bear.
have to explore all the possibilities that inhibit a
child’s academic success and the possibilities are
limitless. We often chalk up a poor academic performance
to a child's refusal to comply with the known classroom
requirements or an apparent lack of mental ability to
handle grade level assignments when in fact a wide variety
of seemingly inconsequential things can affect your
child’s performance in class. When all efforts have been
exhausted in terms of help at home, and intervention
strategies implemented at school, then parents should
consider requesting the assistance of school psychologist
or guidance counselors. Your school’s counseling staff has
the training and accessibility to observe your child in a
classroom setting, and the ability to take note of small
nuances that parents may never notice. Your guidance
counselor is also trained to be able to effectively
communicate with your child on their level. Because of
that training, a good guidance counselor may quite
possibly be successful in uncovering deep-seated issues
that may be influencing your child negatively in class.
If all parties
concerned truly work in concert toward the common goal of
your child's academic success, your child will be
academically successful. Getting everyone to work
from the same page is not an easy task, but parents must
find their own resolve in insisting that everyone involved
pulls their assigned weight and meets
their individual academic expectations.
Assessment and Evaluation
Should you hold your child back?
When Report Cards Don't Make the Grade
Escalating Kindergarten Curriculum -
The practice of kindergarten retention is increasing
dramatically. In some districts, as many as 60% of
kindergartners are judged to be unready for first grade.
These children are provided with alternative
programming: developmental kindergarten (followed by
regular kindergarten), transition or pre-first grade, or
the repeating of kindergarten.
American Association of School
Alternatives to Grade Retention -
complementary strategies to improve teaching and learning
make more sense than holding students in grade...
National Association of School
Retention and Promotion: A Handout for
Should my Child Repeat a Grade?
Test Publisher Statements on High Stakes Testing -
about Using their Test to Make Grade Promotion
If a teen
begins to fail in school: What Parents and
Teachers can do.
Sharing Success.org -
SOME FACTS & FIGURES
15 to 19 percent of U.S. students are retained in
grade each year.
In many large urban districts upwards of 50 percent of
students who enter kindergarten are likely to be
retained at least once.
The most frequently repeated grades are kindergarten
Retained students are more likely to be male, be
African-American or Hispanic, and come from a lower
Retained students are more likely to have parents who
did not graduate from high school.
The Balanced View:
Social Promotion & Retention
Promotion Policies Modified: One Size Doesn't Fit All
(excerpt) Three of
the school districts -- Chicago, Milwaukee, and Detroit
-- have modified their promotion policies or are
currently considering doing so. Those modifications are
not a signal that the school districts are going back to
the days of social promotion, school officials say.
Rather, they are acknowledging that a "one size fits
all" promotion policy doesn't necessarily benefit all
children in all circumstances.