Impacts of Student Retention

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1.0 Introduction

This report will explore the concepts of existing education policies

in a developed country – Singapore. The Minister of Education of

Singapore commissioned this report to account for the impacts of

student retention to its advantages, disadvantages and impacts.

This report is constructed with at least 6 credible scholarly articles

and the MOE’s official website. Although the idea of retention in

Singapore is not unfamiliar, this report will distinguish the

ramifications of retention and describes the implications of

retention in a developed country like Singapore.

2.0Purpose of Grade Retention

2.1Goals of Retention

The practice of holding back ostensibly weaker students for

one more year on the grounds of failed academic prowess is

common in Singapore. Retention policy calls for requiring students

who have failed to achieve satisfactorily to repeat their current

grade the following year. “Promotional Gates in certain grades

found that 20 to 40 percent of the students did not qualify for

promotion” (Brophy 2006, 13). This is motivated by a conservative

belief that retaining students provides another opportunity to

master content which students failed to master and consequently

leave students better equipped to succeed in the following year.

“Most grade repetition in developed countries is imposed by

schools on low-achieving students who have made poor progress

despite regular attendance” (Brophy 2006, 12).

2.2Does Retention Satisfy Original Goals

“Sixth grade students rated grade retention as the single

most stressful life event” (Riggert et al 2006, 71). Repetition is

principally made up of two forms, voluntary and involuntary.

Voluntary happens when students whom are considered “at risk”

drop out of school before attempting the final exams “Repetition is associated with low achievement and early dropout” (Brophy 2006,

9). Voluntarily means forfeiting the chance of progress. Familial

background, financial conditions or past stigmas all play a major

part in the decision but grade retention policy makers believe that it

is for schools to maintain high standards therefore retention does

satisfy the goals of the school but not the goals of the student.

3.0Factors & Conditions Leading to Failing a Student

3.1Academic Achievement

Grade repetition is decided on the academic achievement of

the student, decision is made by the authoritative body, normally a

minimal grade of 50 percentage achieved in all subjects will suffice

in passing. “At risk” students make up the notable percentage in

this category, commands a higher probability despite regular

attendance and class performances. This supports Diederich’s

statement of schools superfluously weighs subjects through the

final examinations as a criterion to pass students. “These patterns

indicate that prior academic achievement and expectations were

related to retention” (Diederich 1978, 10).

3.2Disciplinary Problems

Social influences play a huge part in the development of the

student’s mentality towards education. Attributing to the student’s

behavior, students from lower income families work while attending

school and evidently the student is unable to give their full-time

attention to their academic endeavors. “Staff typically see student

failure or success as essentially the results the students achieved,

obviously student effort, ability and motivation are powerful factors

in the equation”(Wimshurst, Bates and Wortley 2002, 12).

Students are often misunderstood because enthusiasm in a

student is often miscomprehended. This attributes to the student’s

interest towards education and forms the outline of his or hers

behavior. “School-imposed grade repetition has negative effects

on achievement and is associated...
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