Pause and reflect:
Imagine that you are a second grade teacher. Your principal suggests that one of your students who performed poorly this year repeat second grade next year. Given what you know about the research on retention, how would you respond? I would ask the principal to reconsider his decision and to examine the student’s situation more carefully to make an informed decision. First I would present the scientific results on retention students. According to the scientific study, retention has negative effects on students rather than positive. It’s a misconception that many think retention will solve for the poor performance because they are learning the same material all over again. If the student is having poor academic skills, he will continue to have poor academic skill if it’s not being addressed appropriately. Retention will not address the cause of the student’s poor performance. On the contrary, when students are kept back, they are more likely to exhibit reactance -- displaying social and mental health problems, such as negative attitudes toward teachers and school, misbehavior, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and so forth. Also scientific research show retained students are 40 to 50 more likely than nonretained students to drop out of school. Moreover, low achieving children who are promoted learn at least as much, if not more, the following year, have a stronger self-concept, and are better adjusted emotionally than similar children who are retained. Second, I would present my suggestions and recommendations as to what to do with the student. I believe it’s more important to find ways to provide the learning supports the students need when they are not doing well at school. We need to figure out the root cause of the student’s poor performance in school and then address it accordingly. Was it due to inappropriate forms of instruction or would it be due to outside stresses. If it’s due to inappropriate instruction, we can find ways to...
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