Children being held back in school.....stigma or no?
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 1/31/2013 by ScrappinFan in NSBR Board
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ScrappinFan
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Posted: 1/31/2013 8:56:50 AM
My son, who is in first grade, is struggling. He has a summer birthday, is a boy, and the youngest in the family. I started him in kindergarten when he turned 5, and kindergarten went ok, so he went on to first grade. The first quarter went ok, but then by 2nd quarter, he was starting to struggle and get a bit behind. I've had numerous talks with the teacher, and she says he is struggling in class.

So now I know there is a very real possibility that he will be held back and do first grade again. I've talked to a lot of my teacher friends, and they all give me positive feedback, saying it will definitely help him. If it will help him, I would be all for retention. My question is this: How do I get my child to understand why all his friends are going on to 2nd grade and he won't? I can see him saying, I"ve already done first grade, why again? Of course, I only want what's best for him.

If a child is visibly struggling in school, would you hold back? HOw do you explain it to them? Would love to hear other moms who have been in my situation!

thanks,


Chris

emmafrost
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:03:07 AM
I would see how the third and fourth quarter go, with tutoring and opt for summer school before I made the decision about retention.







megmc
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:06:13 AM
We held our son back but switched him to another school. No Problems.

HerRoyalScrappiness
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:12:24 AM
we are in the same exact spot right now. We have no problem doing tutors and such. but I do not want to set it up to need tutors for every year of school just to make it through if holding him back a year will make the difference.

We are not making that decision right now, he is testing well but his classroom performance does not match what he tests. it may be a maturity issue and we are gonna evaluate at the third quarter report.

I feel your pain. its a rough decision. the biggest problem I see is his taking a hit to his self esteem. He is old enough to understand and I hate for him to feel its cause he isn't good enough


Nicole

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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:13:21 AM
rather than holding him back, request the school to test him and find out why he is struggling. repeating the same approach is not helpful.

it has not been shown to help in studies I believe. you need more info..what can you do in the summer? does he have processing problems, learning disabilities?

Oh No!
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:15:56 AM
My nephew was held back and then was able to join his class half way through the year.

It IS hard on them. I have taught Sunday School for many years. Almost every time you ask a child what grade they are in, if they have repeated a grade, they say I am in X grade, but I should be in Y grade. It's like a compulsion.

I do think that many, many boys are just not mature enough to start school at the standard age.


Georgiapea
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:18:10 AM
My DD was held back to repeat 3rd grade and it was really difficult for her emotionally. I would want to place him in a different school - something I did not do, to minimize the impact on him.

happeawife
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:29:23 AM
My DD was held back in 1st grade. It was the best thing I ever did. She obviously was struggling and she knew it. She would comment on what the other kids could do that she couldn't. Granted she has a lot of health issues that they feel contributed to some of this.

She is now in 2nd grade and doing amazingly well. Ever one is so impressed with her progress.

She has made friends, joined brownies and still talks to some of her friends that are now a year ahead of her. No one really seems to care that she did 1st grade twice.


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WillowJane
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:34:35 AM
If you are going to hold a child back, kinder or 1st grades are the best grades to do so. When you get to 2nd or above and the child's self awareness kicks in, it becomes very hard for the child.

Our oldest DD repeated first grade due to reading challenges. It was the best decision we ever made. We exhausted every intervention available at the time but I wasn't going to set my child up for failure on the standardized test that starts in 3rd grade.


eebud
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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:38:18 AM
My DSS struggled in Kindergaten, then in 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th. Every year, they would talk about holding him back and every year they let him move on to the next grade. Finally in 4th, it was just not working. When he came back after Christmas break, he went back to 3rd grade and repeated the 2nd half of 3rd grade. The next year, he moved on to 4th and did just fine in school through graduation. I think it would have been better to hold him back from the beginning instead of letting him struggle for 4 1/2 years.





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Posted: 1/31/2013 9:56:21 AM
I had my grandson repeat kindergarten. He was only 4 the first time he started (he did turn 5 in Sept but started school the beginning of Aug) and even though he did okay, he wasn't really up to the other kids because he had not gone to any pre-school (though I did tell my daughter at the time he should.)

So the next summer, my daughter's accident happened and he was pretty stressed over it and she was still in a vegetative state, so I decided for him just to repeat kindergarten. And he actually did much better. He is 15 now and while I don't think he is ever affected by it, he is still almost a year older than all of his friends and he is always asked why isn't he a sophomore. I tell him just to blame me since I was the one who had him held back.


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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:19:01 AM
if they are struggling it's one of the best things you can do for them. It boosts their confidence, gives them some maturing time (no matter how social, smart, etc... they are kids still need to mature). I also believe that their is a higher percentage of kids who are on ADD/ADHD meds who are the youngest in their class.

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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:20:54 AM
My GS is 6, will be 7 in July. He was held back in K. He is doing amazingly well now in his 2nd year in K. We approached it as how lucky he was to be able to get to go to K again. He wasn't phased about it. It was much better than to have him continue to struggle year after year. As it turned out, he had to change schools shortly after school started this year. He's wanting to return to his old school which hopefully will happen for first grade.


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Maryland
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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:32:58 AM
Good for you for trying! I also have two children with summer birthdays. They are girls and there are as many (or more) girls held back in our school district as boys. We sent ours and they are doing great. But we know of some kids that do repeat grades and not necessarily because they are young. Some older kids struggle too.

A good friend of ours also has a summer birthday but she started school on time. She had problems in 4th grade so she repeated it. There was no teasing or issue at all. Smooth transition for her. She is still not the oldest in the class. I think it would be even easier in 1st grade. Kids aren't as mean then (at least boys probably aren't). I think if your teacher recommends repeating a grade, you should do it and not even worry about it.


ginacivey
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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:37:05 AM
it may have nothing to do with his intellect or a disability, but with his maturity level

if it is his lack of maturity (and no offense at all - he's just younger than all the other kids), then you'll continue to see problems as he advances through the grades.

maybe not always with school work but maybe with social issues as well

sometimes parents get so caught up in "my child is young but is SOOOO smart" they neglect to take his/her maturity level into consideration.

kids are resilent...especially that young.

gina

simplekelly
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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:37:33 AM
What does the decades of research say? It is the greatest predictor of school drop outs.


the majority of research findings conclude that students who repeat a grade are harmed academically and socioemotionally and seldom persist to graduation. Research also has shown that retained students sometimes show short-term gains in achievement (usually only measured by performance on standardized tests), but this is usually followed by a long-term fade in progress. Most schools are not equipped to provide sustained, rigorous academic remediation to elevate a student to proficiency once the student has been retained. Retained students exhibit a negative attitude toward school, with some students classifying retention as the most stressful occurrence that could happen in their educational career. Finally, the argument linking grade retention to dropping out of school is one-sided, namely that it is the most significant factor.

When reading the literature concerning retention’s impact on students’ academic and social well-being, as well as the national push to increase the graduation rate, retention has no place in America’s schools.
While some students may appear to benefit from retention the decades of research does not support it at all. Ask the school to complete some testing to find out if he has a learning disability.

google "retention in elementary school research". I have been in education for the last 15 years and worked in both special education and administration. There has only been ONE student who I recommended for retention. It was a kindergartener who barely met the age requirement, lived in an environment not conducive to learning basic concepts, and needed copious amounts of repetition and she needed another year of kindergarten basics. There were also other issues involved...but my point is I only have had one case where I recommended retention. PLEASE look at the research.


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Maryland
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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:38:01 AM
I just thought of this too. My oldest daughter is now 15 and in 10th grade. When she was in 2nd grade, she struggled a bit in school and was almost at the point that she needed a tutor for math. Well, once she hit 5th grade, she had a great math teacher and has been doing great in math ever since. She is in all Honors classes in high school. So even though a child may have problems in younger grade, doesn't mean they will always struggle. We have also seen kids that are super super smart in elem., but not so in high school.


simplekelly
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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:40:02 AM

if they are struggling it's one of the best things you can do for them. It boosts their confidence, gives them some maturing time (no matter how social, smart, etc... they are kids still need to mature).
I completely DISAGREE. and apparently I'm the only one on this thread that disagrees. Decades of research has shown the exact opposite.


best,


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ginacivey
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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:40:14 AM
so kelly...how do you deal with kids that weren't ready to start school when their parents enrolled them?

when the issue is maturity and not intelligence

gina

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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:45:25 AM
My son struggled through each grade. He turned 5 in late August before he entered kindergarten, so plenty of leeway for California's December 1st cut-off. Every year, starting in 1st or 2nd grade, I counseled with his teachers about holding him back, and got nothing but resistance at every turn. This was in the 1980s. Social stigma, low self-esteem, etc. etc. It just got worse every year, until finally, the time was right. We moved to a new city during the summer before his 8th grade year. We simply told the new school that he was repeating the 7th grade. He did. No social stigma. Higher self esteem, as he slowly started feeling better about his abilities and schoolwork. Although it continued to be a struggle for him in some ways (he had developed some bad coping mechanism habits), in the long run it was a net positive. He eventually graduated from high school with honors, and now has a Master's degree. I wish that we had held him back in the 1st grade.



Johnnysmom
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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:47:22 AM
We held our now 11yo ds back in first grade. Same situation, he turned 5 in June, we sent him to kindy, he did fine, moved to first grade and he struggled from the get-go. We told him we decided he needed more practice in 1st grade. He's socially outgoing, so while he didn't like it, he did just fine with making new friends (he already knew some of the kids from the neighborhood/daycare/etc). I'll never forget that first P-T conference of the repeat year....the teacher (different teacher, we chose to have him in a different class) told us that holding him back was the BEST thing we could have done. That was quite a relief to hear that, as it was probably the hardest decision we've ever made.

He's in 5th grade now, I don't think repeating 1st grade is even a blip on his radar. He's older than most (but not all) of his classmates. He's done great socially, academically, and in sports. I'd do it again if I had to, the older they get the harder it would be.

Dani-Mani
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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:50:20 AM
Kelly is right. Education research on retention is not positive at all and strongly recommends against it.



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3kidmama
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Posted: 1/31/2013 11:00:47 AM
Another option might be to pull him out of school and homeschool him for a few years. You can customize his education to his level. If he needs to spend longer on learning his math facts - do it. Needs more time to practice reading - you do it. He won't be distracted by other kids moving around in a classroom setting.

You can also work with him in shorter periods of time if that is best for him.

When you homeschool a kid, it really doesn't matter "what grade you are in" - you simply teach them at their level. After some time, he will very likely "catch up" to his classroom peers and if you wish, put him back into a traditional school in his regular grade.

Some kids are just late bloomers, and I just wanted to put out another possible option.
-------------------------------------------

In my personal experience, I have never met someone who was held back in school who didn't end up feeling "dumb" in academics. Dh's nephew was held back in 3rd grade and he dropped out of high school. After 5 yrsr, he did go back and take his GED. My own nephew is in 10th grade now - was held back in 2nd grade. To this day he HATES school work, and feels very inferior academically. He dreads doing any kind of school work. He's very bright, but it's like it is now ingrained into his personality: "I'm not good in school". Breaks my heart!

simplekelly
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Posted: 1/31/2013 11:04:07 AM

so kelly...how do you deal with kids that weren't ready to start school when their parents enrolled them?

when the issue is maturity and not intelligence
You deal with them. Once they come through our doors they are ours and we can only control our environment. Holding them back for maturity is even worse than holding them back for intelligence. Want them to not mature? Hold them back. You teach them. You teach them how to sit in a group. You teach them how to raise their hand. You reward them and positively encourage them. Educators don't just teach academics...we teach students how to become appropriate members of society as well. It's a joint effort, hopefully, with parents.


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purplepackrat
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Posted: 1/31/2013 11:16:37 AM
My DD started third grade and started fading fast. I put her back into second. Not only was there no problems, but the difference was amazing. Stigma is a stupid reason to keep pushing a child forward, in my opinion.


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Posted: 1/31/2013 11:32:17 AM
I held back my first grader. Same thing...summer birthday. He was adopted, behind, and had switched schools so many times that I wanted him firmly planted and feeling confident. I am very very pleased with his progress and attitude this year. He is doing amazing!!!

He will not be traumatized by it. Just say it matter of factly -some kids do first grade twice- and move on. Let him get to know some of the kindergartners this year. Better to handle things now than have him struggling later and feeling that he can't perform at school.

Good luck either way.
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Maizie
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Posted: 1/31/2013 11:44:28 AM
Can you homeschool or afterschool him to help him catch up, work on social skills, direction following,reading, math skills, motor skills, etc? Maybe by years end he will be ready to keep going.

It will be MUCH eaiser staying back a year NOW then when he is older. When I was in school I was young, like turned five the day before school started. It DID catch up to me, but they waited way to long in my opinion. It is much more difficult to deal with peer wise when you are older.




scrapqueen01
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Posted: 1/31/2013 1:08:44 PM
I had my daughter repeat kindergarten just after she started 1st grade. She was struggling with reading and just didn't quite grasp the sounds letters make. I honestly don't care what research says. I'm sure if one looked hard enough there is research showing the exact opposite. She knew she was struggling and loved going back to kindergarten. She's now reading above grade level. She goes to a private Christian school where being held back in kindy or 1st is very common. We have treated it as it's no big deal. I would think that being held back so a child could get it would be better than letting that child struggle. That struggle could also be hard on self-esteem. My oldest sister who has been a school teacher for 30 years even said it was the best decision. Only you know your child best.




ginacivey
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Posted: 1/31/2013 1:12:28 PM
kelly - i realize this is a subject on which you are very well-versed and passionate about

but i wonder if you really can 'teach' maturity?

sure you can teach them rules about society and how to 'play well with others...but can you help them to mature more quickly...to, in effect, catch up with their peers?

i don't doubt the research or it's validity

and i am not looking for an arguement

gina

simplekelly
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Posted: 1/31/2013 1:20:46 PM

I honestly don't care what research says. I'm sure if one looked hard enough there is research showing the exact opposite
Actually on retention you really can't. It's the one area that really shows that retention is not beneficial in MOST cases. But generally speaking about research you are quite right.


best,


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Posted: 1/31/2013 1:24:43 PM
If you are going to hold him back, NOW is the time vs. years from now. And does your school have any split classes? That way he could be with some of his friends, make new friends and then not have it be as visible.

I would not make a decision until end of 3rd quarter and also be sure there was not a vision or hearing issue that presented the issues.



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simplekelly
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Posted: 1/31/2013 1:25:15 PM

kelly - i realize this is a subject on which you are very well-versed and passionate about

but i wonder if you really can 'teach' maturity?

sure you can teach them rules about society and how to 'play well with others...but can you help them to mature more quickly...to, in effect, catch up with their peers?

i don't doubt the research or it's validity

and i am not looking for an argument
I know you aren't looking for an argument. While you can't specifically teach "maturity" you can teach them skills that makes them behave in certain ways. In terms of friends, sometimes these kids make friends with other kids of the same maturity level and do great. There are 30 kids in a class and there is usually someone else on the same lower maturity level. It's a work in progress and often maturity with same age peers comes later...especially with boys. So some kids may initially have low maturity compared to same age peers but over time they do catch up unless there are other compounding issues other than just maturity slower to develop.


best,


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Posted: 1/31/2013 1:26:11 PM
I am in my 27th year of teaching first grade. Based on my experience (which I would put up against any research), retention can be a marvelous help to many children.
All children develop at different rates. Not all are ready for school just because the calendar says so.
At this point in the first grade year, I'd consider retention but I would not make thedecision to retain yet. I also wouldn't rule it out. There is lots of time left to grow this year. ETA-you are the only one who can give your child the gift of time to grow up. The world sure won't do it.


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Posted: 1/31/2013 1:29:20 PM
Kelly, have you seen any difference on holding children back in the earlier grades, like Kindergarten or 1st grade, vs later in elementary school? I'm just curious. My child hasn't been held back & isn't currently at risk but she's had classmates who have been held back. One repeated Kindergarten & another is now repeating 1st grade.



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Posted: 1/31/2013 1:33:44 PM
This is another school issue that really depends upon the child. You really have to look at the whole picture of your child and make the decision based upon his needs.

Considering your child is a summer birthday it gives you some leeway as far as age. He will not be older then all of his peers even if he takes the opportunity to experience first grade a second time. The studies look at students who are out of the norm for grades and then go on to have difficulty and maybe drop out. A kid with a summer birthday will be well within the norm for grade age.

Look at your child's maturity vs learning problems. If he is challenged by sitting for long periods of time or the light bulb just hasn't clicked yet. The retention might be the answer. If you are seeing larger issues with learning then testing would be more ideal. The teachers and staff of your school should be knowledgable enough to help you decide this.

It is best to be able to switch teachers or schools if retention is the placement sought. However, my kids attend grade school with only one class per grade and I have watched children blossom even with the same teacher/techniques.

I have taught kinder and I have taught Resource/SpEd. I have encouraged retention and laid out the reasons why retention would not be the best option. Ultimately it is up to you as the parent. Ideally you will work as a team with the school to come up with the best placement for next year. You can make a plan with timelines in place to revisit the decision throughout the next few months until school starts. A lot can happen and it is always best to be flexible if possible.

Good luck.

happeawife
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Posted: 1/31/2013 1:34:32 PM


It's the one area that really shows that retention is not beneficial in MOST cases.




MOST does not mean ALL. My kid is not most kids. So now she is thriving and excited about learning.



Retained students exhibit a negative attitude toward school




Every person who has ever come into contact with my child would greatly disagree with this statement. She loves school and likes to go.



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Jili
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Posted: 1/31/2013 1:36:48 PM

I completely DISAGREE. and apparently I'm the only one on this thread that disagrees. Decades of research has shown the exact opposite.


No, you're not. I am in education as well, and I agree.

I do feel that retention is an option, but it shouldn't be the first one.

If the student is struggling in school...what interventions are being implemented? How is progress being measured? How does the student stand relative to his peers? Is he close to meeting grade level benchmarks or not even remotely close?

A school should never even consider retention without completing a full and individual evaluation to examine processing skills, learning styles, etc. As a parent, I would want to make sure that they school was doing everything possible for the student, intervention-wise, before resorting to retention. If the concerns were more behavioral based, I'd want to see consistent and well-designed interventions put into place for that, too. A thorough intervention plan (detailed with specific interventions, goals, timelines, etc.) needs to be in place and reviewed before retention should be considered.


Jill

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Posted: 1/31/2013 1:36:56 PM
My son was a summer baby and struggled in school. The school said it was because he was immature. It turned out he was severely dyslexic and that wasn't picked up for many years. There could be a whole range of reasons why your son is struggling and my advice would be, don't assume its because he is a summer baby.

What assessments are they going to do to find out why your son is struggling? It could be because of maturity but it could also be because of some other reason.

Rather than hold him back a year without finding out the cause of his struggle. I would be asking the school how are they identifying his needs and what additional support are they going to give your son?

Getting the child to repeat the same learning he has already done may not be the best thing for him. If he can't learn it the first time round then he needs a different teaching approach not more of the same.
The affect on his self esteem could be long lasting in a negative way if he knows he is being left behind.


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Posted: 1/31/2013 1:49:12 PM

We held our son back but switched him to another school. No Problems.



This what we did (DS repeated Kindergarten.)

I think it would have been harder if he had stayed at the same school. But it actually worked out great. He had a fabulous K teacher the second time around (the first one was pretty mediocre), and she got him to where he needed to be. I think that promoting him to 1st grade after that first year would have been a disaster.


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writermom1
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Posted: 1/31/2013 2:08:23 PM
No.

DH was held back in kindergarten. No problems.



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peapermint
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Posted: 1/31/2013 2:08:38 PM
When we were struggling with whether to start our DS in kindergarten at age 4 (October birthday, well before California's December cutoff, which is now being scaled back), we were told by many to be absolutely sure, because repeating any grade other than possibly kindergarten is shown in studies to have negative effects. We started him anyway and he's excelling in 3rd grade -- but we did worry.

I'd have evaluations done, interventions or switch schools to repeat.

I'm 41 years old, and I still remember which two kids had to repeat in my 2nd grade class.

simplekelly
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Posted: 1/31/2013 2:43:46 PM

It's the one area that really shows that retention is not beneficial in MOST cases.



MOST does not mean ALL. My kid is not most kids. So now she is thriving and excited about learning.
No kidding. Did I say ALL? No. No I did not. but hey. ignore decades of research that all points to the same thing-retention is NOT beneficial and should only be done in very specific and certain cases and should not just be done "because" or to be red-shirted. *shrug*. Glad your child is doing well. That's all that matters really.

I'm not the one being defensive. I'm just giving the facts ma'am.


best,


**Live your dreams, not your fears**

simplekelly
Loving Life

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Posted: 1/31/2013 2:48:10 PM

Kelly, have you seen any difference on holding children back in the earlier grades, like Kindergarten or 1st grade, vs later in elementary school? I'm just curious. My child hasn't been held back & isn't currently at risk but she's had classmates who have been held back. One repeated Kindergarten & another is now repeating 1st grade.
honestly, with the exception of that one child, no. I have not personally seen the benefits.

If you retain a child without all the answers of WHY the child is behind his peers, then that is just a ignorant choice because you'll have the same problems in the repeated grade because the school never got to the bottom of the reasons. If you don't know why, then you can't address the problems and concerns appropriately...and most schools are not equipped to provide a rigorous second year.

And yes, only you know your child but there needs to be supporting evidence that it would be a benefit....not because you "feel" it would be best. While I agree that parents usually know best about their child, professional educators do have reasons for the disagreement about retention. Addressing the issues is better than just holding back a child in a grade.

I do agree that when holding back in a young grade is better AND if you can switch schools to do that is even better...it's a fresh start with no rumors or questions to the retained child.


best,


**Live your dreams, not your fears**

deragirl
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Posted: 1/31/2013 2:48:15 PM
I would not take retention off the table as "no, never do it," but I would be super darn sure that every evaluation, intervention and assessment that could be done to identify what is going on with the child was done before retention was even discussed as an option.

Sorry to educators who might be offended or feel defensive of their schools because of what I'm about to type. And please, I know it is not the case for 100% of school systems, but I have seen it be the case in several states and several different kinds of communities with children who have a variety of educational challenges. So, here is what I want to say:

In my experience, many school districts will avoid doing some of the assessing and intervening as long as possible because those activities cost them money and could lead to identifying learning disabilities or other issues that will require them to spend money on the child long-term. To that end, they would use the free "tool" of retention first, and if there are still problems after retention is tried, then they begin the assessment.

In my opinion, assess and intervene first, retain only as a last resort - after you have established that the problem is not from some treatable/teachable lack of skill or ability.

As an attorney who works to advocate for children's rights in school, my husband would advise you to send a letter to the school (has to be in writing and should go to the teacher, principal and school psychologist and the district special ed office) requesting IEP and 504 assessment of your child - immediately. Do not wait and see. The process can take a while and you want it done before any discussion of retention has to take place.

Maybe they won't find anything, but if they do, maybe it will allow an intervention in the approach to educating him that will serve him well for the rest of his educational experience.

You have to be an advocate for your child because no body else will take that role on exclusively. They'll be advocates for their school, their district, their classroom, but only you have the single focus of advocating for your child.

My heart goes out to you - these are very difficult issues. But the sooner you get the jump on it, the better a decision you will be able to make for your child.


Susan Beth
My Blog

simplekelly
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Posted: 1/31/2013 2:57:13 PM

You have to be an advocate for your child because no body else will take that role on exclusively. They'll be advocates for their school, their district, their classroom, but only you have the single focus of advocating for your child.
That is 100% true!

and in my district the testing has to occur before retention or advancement to skip a grade occurs.


best,


**Live your dreams, not your fears**

deragirl
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 1/31/2013 3:03:16 PM
Kelly,
Good for your district to require the assessments first. That was not true for kids I know in Michigan, D.C., California and Montana. Wish all districts were as on the ball as yours.


Susan Beth
My Blog

happeawife
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Posted: 1/31/2013 3:40:43 PM


I'm not the one being defensive. I'm just giving the facts ma'am.




I wasn't being defensive ma'am. I'm showing that your data was different than my experience. So maybe you are being a little defensive.



It's compromise that moves us along!

twinsmom-fla99
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Posted: 1/31/2013 3:52:14 PM

What does the decades of research say? It is the greatest predictor of school drop outs.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
the majority of research findings conclude that students who repeat a grade are harmed academically and socioemotionally and seldom persist to graduation. Research also has shown that retained students sometimes show short-term gains in achievement (usually only measured by performance on standardized tests), but this is usually followed by a long-term fade in progress. Most schools are not equipped to provide sustained, rigorous academic remediation to elevate a student to proficiency once the student has been retained. Retained students exhibit a negative attitude toward school, with some students classifying retention as the most stressful occurrence that could happen in their educational career. Finally, the argument linking grade retention to dropping out of school is one-sided, namely that it is the most significant factor.

When reading the literature concerning retention’s impact on students’ academic and social well-being, as well as the national push to increase the graduation rate, retention has no place in America’s schools.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

While some students may appear to benefit from retention the decades of research does not support it at all. Ask the school to complete some testing to find out if he has a learning disability.

Simplekelly, thanks for the information.

I am curious about the researach, though. Did they compare struggling students who were retained vs. struggling students who were not retained? Or were they just compared to the general population? If the latter, I would actually expect the results you have cited--students who struggle are more likely to have a lower self-esteem than those who find school easy, and if they are struggling from an early age, they are going to be stressed about school and generally dislike it. If they are struggling at an early age, they are more likely to continue to struggle into high school and "give up" and drop out.

How did they control for variables such as: students who are retained and later identified as special needs vs. students who are retained and simply labeled "slow learners" and thus not eligible for services; students who are retained with no private tutoring vs. students whose parents paid for private tutoring and summer enrichment; students who are retained and placed in a different school setting with smaller classes vs. students who are simply retained in the same school with the same teachers.

I get the point that simply retaining a child and doing nothing else to address the underlying issues may not be ideal. However, if a child can't identify the letters of the alphabet by the end of K, placing that child in a first grade classroom and expecting him/her to manage to "catch up" to the other kids without remedial instruction isn't going to help either.

This portion of your quote really stood out to me:


Most schools are not equipped to provide sustained, rigorous academic remediation to elevate a student to proficiency once the student has been retained.
And yet somehow the teachers are equipped to provide these same things in a classroom full of students who are far ahead of the child who was not retained?

Retention as it is done in many school settings may not be the best solution, but neither is advancing a child who is already so far behind that he has no hope of EVER catching up!

I taught 5th grade for many years. I never recommended a single child for retention at that level. However, I did teach quite a few kids who had to repeat kindergarten or first grade. Most of those kids fell into three categories: too young to start school in the first place, undiagnosed learning disability or ADD, and slow learner. Most of the kids who were just "too young" were doing fine in 5th grade and appeared to be well-adjusted. Those who had later been diagnosed with a learning disability were usually still behind but were making progress. Those who had been labeled "slow learners" and thus not eligible for any services beyond a regular classroom setting and possibly some "reading recovery" help were usually still failing in at least some areas and suffered from low self-esteem. Those were the kids that I feared were doomed to drop-out when they finally reached a level where they couldn't pass anything. These were the kids reading two or even three years below grade level with no hope of getting any real help, and when they moved on to middle school, they were almost surely going to do poorly because they couldn't read or do anything beyond basic math.


I had my oldest daughter repeat K (Sept. baby who started K at age 4 in July). After seeing similar issues with her younger twin sisters, I didn't even start them in K until a year after they normally would have started (Aug. babies, started K at age 6). I can guarantee you that my own children were not traumatized by repeating or being held back. The oldest graduated with a 4.4 last year, and the twins have a combined total of two Bs on their report cards out of 54 possible grades so far this year with the rest being As.

I don't disagree that there is a problem in education when it comes to helping kids who struggle. However, I don't think you can justify a blanket statement that "retention = bad". Retention without any real attempts at remediation might be "bad", but I don't see how promotion after failing to come anywhere close to meeting gradelevel standards without any real attempts at remediation is any better. Regardless of what classroom a child is in, if s/he isn't identified and given an IEP, s/he is NOT going to get the services necessary to remediate. It is just too expensive, and schools will not do it unless forced , just as most school districts never offered anything more than "warehousing" of special education students until forced to do so in the early 70s.

simplekelly
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Posted: 1/31/2013 4:03:46 PM

I am curious about the researach, though. Did they compare struggling students who were retained vs. struggling students who were not retained? Or were they just compared to the general population?
It's been done on both. Really the data is impressive and extensive. I've got a ton of articles on it but they are all in PDF format and no online links I can share. I'll look into all my stuff the district provides for us on the research though and post later if I find online links to the information. But google will also show you the research.


best,


**Live your dreams, not your fears**

twinsmom-fla99
AncestralPea

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Posted: 1/31/2013 4:33:14 PM
Thanks Simplekelly. I would be interested in reading about it. I did a quick google search before I posted, but I couldn't see the answers I was trying to find.

Even if you don't have specific links, I would love to have at least the names of the organizations/years of the studies so I could find the ones you mentioned.
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