Avoid Grade Retention

It’s the time of year when struggling students may be considered for being held back and to repeat a grade.  The National Association of School Psychologists 2011 position paper recommends parents and teachers do not retain students. They report, “The majority of studies conducted over the past four decades on the effectiveness of grade retention fail to support its efficacy in remediating academic deficits.” In other words, just repeating the same thing does not fix your child’s problem. I’ve found retention only works well when the child receives a substantially different and specialized curriculum designed to meet their needs. How do you know your child’s needs? Testing your child helps you learn what reading, writing, or math program can best help your child learn.

In the position paper researchers wrote, “When retained and promoted peers are compared at the same age, retained students achieve at a slower rate. When retained and promoted peers are compared in the same grade, retained students experience a short-term boost that dissipates within 4 years.” This implies that retaining your child is a quick short term solution but it the same problems will return when your child’s older. As the adage says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” You can be proactive now with testing and special instruction or spend a lifetime repairing your child’s low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy.

The National Association of School Psychologists recommends, “Students whose performance is substantially below their grade level peers need an intensive individualized intervention plan with frequent progress monitoring and involvement with specialists and related services providers, in order to ensure the maximum benefit for the student.” You can start now before the school year ends. I can help you determine the root cause of your child’s struggles and help you prevent learning catastrophes (like dropping out of school) in the future.  Call our office and we are here to help.