Grade Retention

It seems like after Spring Break classroom teachers start talking about students who they think need go be "held back." I should say that grade retention is NOT an intervention OR something that comes from special education. Research doesn't support retaining students. I do believe that it's a parent decision and they should be informed of both the long/short terms gains as well as the consequences of retention.

I always want to know what the teacher or parent is hoping to gain. What's point if you don't have plan in mind? What is going to be different for the student? If they didn't get the first time, what makes you think that they are going to getting if it is presented to them the same way again. You can't use it as a means to get someone identified for special education because you are comparing the student to their same aged peers. Retaining a student as a means to avoid or speed up the identification process can mess things up. That's because retention is not an intervention.
I have a kindergarten student with severe articulation difficulties which make it very hard for the classroom teacher to understand him. He also demonstrates many "attention-like" problem behaviors. The team has noticed that he is easily frustrated when he is not understood and can be very ornery with adults and kids in his class. This is student that needs to go to 1st even if he's not academically ready. Having him repeat kindergarten because of his "attention-like" behavior and his articulation will not make for a very productive 6th grade year for the adults in his life.

On the other hand, a mother of a different kindergarten student wants to retain her son to help close a language gap (3 plus years). He is currently where he should have been at the beginning of the school year. He didn't go to preschool. Missing that experience weights on his mother. Not going to preschool has made kindergarten very difficult for him and would most likly end up hating school by Christmas.

Our of the two kindergarten students the 2nd would be a better choice to retain. His language skills would grow and he could do some growing up. But at the end of the day it's parents who have to make that choice. My team supports the parents decision no matter they choose to do.

I have attached several articles that I would encourage you to read and pass on to teacher, parents, and administrators on the pros and cons in grade retention.

Grade Retention Is Grade Retention Right for Your Child Pros and Cons of Grade Retention Repeating a Grade


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Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.

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