To Repeat or Not: States Wrestle with Holding Students Back  Essay

To Repeat or Not: States Wrestle with Holding Students Back , 515 words essay example

Essay Topic:academic achievement,high school,children,summer

When a student does not reach an understanding of academic material, teachers have several options they can provide extra tutoring, place the student in summer school, or, as a last resort, hold the student back for a year. "The act of holding a student back in the same grade for an additional year is called grade retention" (Cannon/Lipscomb). Grade retention is seen as a way of holding students accountable. It is often used to stop or reduce something referred to as "social promotion", or, automatically passing a student on to the next grade regardless of whether or not he/she mastered the material. "Grade 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, and/or appears to be "immature" and "young" for his/her age" (GreatKids).
Opinions about grade retention differ. For some, grade retention is seen as positive for some students and in some circumstances but for others, grade retention is seen as negative and of very little value (Aldridge/Goldman). According to Bret Range, retained students show short-term gains in achievement, followed by a long-term fade in progress. In fact, the majority of studies show that, in the long run, retention is not effective for students. Even holding children back as early as kindergarten and first grade can ultimately be ineffective and harmful. Based on many studies, grade retention is thought to be a major cause in school drop-outs. It has been shown that students who have been retained two or more years have almost a 100% chance of dropping out before their high school graduation (Aldridge).
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) made a statement in 2003 on its position pertaining to student grade retention. In this statement, the NASP reported that Academic achievement of kids who are retained is worse than the achievement of peers who are not. The NASP also pointed out that any achievement gained with retention only fades within two or three years after the student has repeated that grade, and behavior problems typically get worse. Furthermore, the NASP suggested that retained students are more likely to have poorer educational and employment outcomes in the future. (GreatKids).
When speaking on grade retention, Aldridge and Goldman point out that children who are held back tend to feel negatively about their capabilities, have a hard time making personal and psychological adjustment, and display more discipline problems. These students may feel angry or sad, fear the reaction of family and friends, become teased, or have a difficult time adjusting to school (Aldridge/Goldman). Principal Bret Range states that retained students exhibit a negative attitude toward school, with some students claiming that retention is the most stressful thing that could happen in all of their years of school. Range believes that the problem is that most schools are not equipped to provide constant, rigorous academic remediation to raise a student to a level of understanding once the student has been retained (Range).

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