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Super low gpa/social promotion
Old 11-02-2017, 10:56 AM
 
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I was helping in the counseling office during a recent sub assignment at a local middle school. The task involved student transcripts. I couldn't help but notice how many students had extremely low (like under 1.0) gpas. These students aren't being held back. Does this bother anyone else? We are not doing these students any favors by passing them along to the next grade when they clearly haven't mastered the material from their current grade. I was absolutely flabbergasted


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I can relate!
Old 11-02-2017, 11:39 AM
 
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I teach 5th grade and feel that st least if my class can barely handle 3rd grade material! The gap is growing each year. I have suggested several students be held back over the years, but have always been shot down by admin and parents. Truthfully, parents have the final say in my district on just about everything.

And just to expand on why I feel students aren't better prepared for middle school, high school, and life is because we have lost the "elementary" basics and have to mive on before students truly master basic skilks like spelling, punctuation, math facts, and reading skills. I have 5th graders who still don't know 2 x 3 witjout begging to use their multiplication charts! Elementary schools need to just get back to basics.
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Old 11-02-2017, 11:58 AM
 
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Thank goodness, they are still aloud to be honest on those transcripts. Just saying!
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Old 11-02-2017, 03:15 PM
 
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I teach 3rd grade. I have 3 kids working at grade level. The rest are below grade level. The problem isn’t in high school. The problem starts at the elementary level.

We aren’t allowed to retain students and they move from grade to grade falling farther and farther behind. When they get to high school they drop out as soon as they’re able, join gangs, do drugs, and end up in trouble. We’re doing a huge disservice to our kids because we’re afraid of making parents angry, because districts want their numbers to look good, because we don’t want to “label” kids, whatever the reason, we’re failing our kids.

And, kids know they won’t be retained so there are no consequences and no incentive to try.
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"Get back to basics!"
Old 11-02-2017, 05:00 PM
 
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I totally agree! Capitalization, punctuation, math facts, reading - just much more academic time.


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Old 11-02-2017, 05:13 PM
 
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Thanks for your comment. I teach grade 3 also and not 1 of my 19 students work at grade level. I teach K and grade 1 in reality.
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Old 11-02-2017, 05:29 PM
 
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Honestly, there's nothing you can do. The neighboring district holds back children all the time, and the parents come here and say they're putting the child in our district because home district is leaving them back and if we do the same they'll go to yet another district.
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No.One.Fails
Old 11-03-2017, 01:07 PM
 
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I had a student last year who missed 100 days and got promoted. Now, he is missing school again this year. Physically, there is nothing wrong with this student. The mom gets him medical excuses for most of the absences. Who are the doctors who excuse these fakers? The mom admitted that she just can't get him to go to school. Yet our wonderful district believes every student needs to be promoted! Its a crime.
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Old 11-03-2017, 09:29 PM
 
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I think the issue is with curriculum, lack of support (admin, parents, community, government, etc.), interventions not working, and being forced to move on before students have mastered anything. I taught 5th/6th last year and was expected to move to the next chapter in math even if my students didn't know the content. It was expected that I do a lesson a day and move on whether or not anyone understood anything. Keep in mind many of these students came in without knowing how to do double digit addition and subtraction. I don't think retention is the solution.

I attended kindergarten for two years. Do you know what it helped with? It helped me stick out like a sore thumb even more than my learning disability already would have. I was 16 my freshmen year of high school due to being retained and having a february birthday. I thought I was stupid until I started college. I had horrible self esteem and to this day still have trouble making friends due to being tormented by peers. Retention hasn't been proven to help anything. In actuality research has linked it to incarceration, dropping out of school, and substance abuse. I worked with students who'd been retained as a Title I teacher and I have a little boy now who was retained. Even when retained very early it brings a heavy sense of shame and self doubt. The little guy I have gets very down on himself for the littlest errors and regularly comments on how he misses his friends in first grade. He will also now turn 7 in kindergarten and stand out horribly in a few years. There's also no way to hide retention from a child's peers.

For me, one teacher in the 6th grade finally found something that worked for me. I entered 6th grade with a 1st grade reading comprehension level and ended 7th with a post high school comprehension level. Sounds far fetched but I have the test scores to back it up. If teachers would be supported and allow to work at their student's' pace I think we'd see a lot more success. The problem is all students start kindergarten at different levels yet are expected to end it at the same level. In an attempt to shove all that information into their poor little heads you end up making them hate school and they don't retain much. A person can only retain so much at any given time and the strugglers often can retain less than others.

For example, someone with a processing delay like mine might need to see a concept 30 times when their peers may only need to see it 3 times. Additionally, if a student struggles with short term memory (which is a skill like anything else) they may only be able to learn say 1-3 new sight words a week but we're trying to teach them 5-10. What ends up happening (I've watched it with my students) is they get so frustrated and bogged down when you try to teach them 5-10 words they're lucky to retain any at all. What teachers need is support and resources. Smaller class sizes, more materials, added support staff (volunteers, interventionists, classroom aides, etc.), community support (parent education, community education, preschool programs, etc.) and curriculum made by people who actually know how to teach. We also need administrators who will support us when we need it and stand back and let us do what's best for our students as well. Retention is a band-aid on a gaping wound. Also, what is a year doing exactly what they did last year really going to make a difference? Trying what you already tried a second time isn't really usually something that works. I do support retention in the case of very immature, young kindergarteners. For example, those kids who barely make the deadline and still act like 4 year olds.
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I agree with Lillybabe
Old 11-04-2017, 11:46 AM
 
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Look at some of the research on the deleterious effects of retention.
http://www.ascd.org/publications/edu...Retention.aspx

http://educationbythenumbers.org/con...students_2034/

And alternatives
https://www.naesp.org/principal-sept...rica-s-schools

Annecdotally, I've greeted children entering my school with a welcome and what grade are you in so I can say something nice about those teachers. Several students have introduced themselves to a stranger with "I was held back. I should be in 4th, but I'm in 3rd now." Their identity is as someone who was held back. It's what they think about when they say their grade.


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I'm seeing the problem develop
Old 11-05-2017, 09:53 PM
 
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I teach third grade, and have seen students unable to decode words. Other students' reading skills are so poor I have to read test questions and answer to them for weekly comprehension tests. There are also students who are unwilling or unable to work independently unless I stand right next to them and tell them what do write, letter-by-letter. Guess what? They all get promoted to 4th grade. The next teacher has to deal with 4th graders who are only reading on a 1st grade level.

This is despite my state's literacy law that requires 3rd graders to pass a literacy test to be promoted. The law would actually take pressure off teachers from parents or admin to socially promote a student far below grade level. There are too many loopholes: If a student is ESL, he's exempt. A student on an IEP or 504 plan is exempt. A student who fails the test can attend summer school and "demonstrate growth" to become promoted despite being unable to read.

So off the kids go with all their friends, doomed to become more disruptive middle school and high school kids who cannot read their own diplomas.
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Old 11-05-2017, 10:21 PM
 
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Research really does not support retention at all. We advise against it at my school, but do allow parents to do if that's what they really want. I've never seen it work. Even if the child makes some gains the year they're retained (and manages to avoid social/emotional issues), those are negated within the next few years because the child doesn't get two years in every grade level.

I had one student who I thought retention really made sense for a few years ago. He had entered K as a 4 year old with a September birthday. Mom knew he was young, but also knew that our preschool is pretty much all play-based and she wanted to get him started on academics. She said if he wasn't on grade level at the end of the year, she'd just retain him rather than waiting until the next year to even start K.

He wasn't on grade level, so she retained him. The kid did not seem to care at all about being in K again, and with the September birthday he wasn't majorly older than the rest of the class/didn't stick out, so no major social/emotional impacts. At the end of his 2nd year on K, he was on grade level and "green" on all of our testing. At the time, it looked like it "worked." The child is now in 2nd grade and is right back at the bottom of his class again, struggling significantly with all subjects. This is basically exactly what research says will happen...the child may "look good" the year they're actually retained, but eventually will fall back down to the bottom of their class.

I have a student right now who mom retained against the advice of pretty much everyone at the school. The student has a learning disability. Mom is absolutely convinced this is just going to "fix" him. She even asks us in meetings what our plan is for when he's "ahead of the class" after being retained . I will have the child for at least another 1.5 years and am absolutely dreading future meetings with her when she realizes he's not going to be "ahead of the class."
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