receive dozens of emails every week about retention,
social promotion and high-stakes
testing. Despite clear evidence that retention does not work - and that it
damages children - many school districts continue to use this outmoded policy.
"Waiting to Fail" Instead of Teaching a Child to Read. Despite clear evidence that retention does not work - and that it damages children - some school districts continue to use this outmoded policy of "waiting to fail". Pam Wright explains the real issue is teaching a child to read.
Special Ed Teacher Needs Help, Ammunition - A special ed teacher disagrees
with her mentor teacher about retention. She says, "research shows that retention
is not successful, and inappropriate to recommend retention for students with
IEPs." He says she is wrong. Sue Heath offers ammunition for teachers and
parents who are dealing with retention.
Retention or Promotion? What's Best for My Child? For those who are dealing with retention, you must educate yourself before you can take a rational position and advocate for a child.
What Diploma Path is your Child On? Will Retention Push Him Off that Path? Retention would be a major setback for my son that I fear he will not easily recover from. What can I do to give my son every opportunity to get to 4th grade?
Why Retain? It Didn't Work the First Time. What to do when the school wants to retain your child. If your child could have learned to read with the previous type and level of instruction he would have already learned to read.
Sample Retention Letter. An excellent sample of a retention letter you can use to request the school not retain your child. This sample letter describes a parent's concerns about the child's lack of progress, their concerns about the school's proposal to retain her, and a proposal for a solution to the child's problems.
Retention - Achievement and Mental Health Outcomes (National Association
of School Psychologists) 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 (National Association of School Psychologists) "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."
White Paper: Grade Retention and Social Promotion (National Association of School Psychologists).
Grade Retention and Promotion: Information for Parents (National Association of School Psychologists).
The Effects of Grade Retention on High School Outcomes: Evidence from New York City Schools (RAND 2018). Grade retention reduces high school credit accumulation and the likelihood of taking math and English Regents exams. For middle school students, we also find that retention increases dropout and reduces the likelihood of completing Regents exam graduation requirements.
is Not the Answer.
(Wrightslaw) A North Carolina school psychologist writes about retention and social
promotions, and his state's policy of retaining children while ignoring research
that retention is not an appropriate intervention.
Promote or Retain? (Wrightslaw) Summary of research on retention which shows
that retention is not an appropriate intervention for children who have academic
Passing on Failure, Eliminating Social Promotion (American Federation of Teachers) "Grade-by-grade standards for students are essential. These standards support academic rigor and ensure fairness by defining the expectations for success for all students."
Early Intervention Works, Grade Retention Doesn't (University of Wisconsin)
Exploring the Association Between Grade Retention and Dropout (California School Psychologist)
If you want to help others learn about special education law and advocacy, please download, print and distribute Wrightslaw information flyers.
Where can you distribute flyers? At school meetings, doctor's offices, hospitals, and day care centers!