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.
Purpose of Grade Retention
Goals 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).
Does 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.
Factors & Conditions Leading to Failing a Student
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).
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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