Passing students to the next grade up

Discussion in 'General Education' started by rpan, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    A thread about different systems of education in different countries has got me thinking. There are some countries that require students to take major tests at the end of the year and if they fail those tests they don’t go on to the next grade and have to spend the next year retaking the grade they failed while their peers who passed go on to the next grade up.

    Do you think this contributes to the culture and attitude of students taking their learning seriously because they don’t want to retake a year? Is not passing students to go on to the next grade till they have met the requirements of their current grade a good thing?
     
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  3. Teacher234

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    It depends on what is best for the student (in elementary and middle school, at least.) In high schools, students must pass the requirements, otherwise the course must be retaken....the student still (usually) is promoted to the next grade (seniors are still seniors).

    In my classroom, I base the decision through academic and behavioral data. I do not necessarily take into consideration the student's grades.
     
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  4. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Honestly?
    I think retention should be a thing. I think it would make kids and parents more interested and invested in their children's education...I've seen a sharp decrease in students and parents caring about their role in the learning process in my ten years. I think retention would bring that back. It takes an act of God in my state to retain a kid. Seriously. A few years back we had a kindergartner who was an ideal candidate for retention. The school, the parents, the pediatrician, we were all on board. He had a late summer birthday, making him one of the youngest in the grade, the family was moving out of school boundaries, so he'd be going to a different school, I mean, this was ideal. District said no, appealed to the state, state said no. I think that doing away with retention is a big reason why we've got so many educational problems these days.
    BUT there does need to be some sort of limit on the retention. I had a friend in school who moved back east just after we graduated so her husband could attend medical school. She got a job teaching high school English in a big city...I think it was a B city..Boston? Baltimore? Something like that. She was 21, and she had students 5 or more years older than she was, they had just been retained so many times they hadn't graduated yet. .
    That's not okay.
    I think that retaining is a powerful and useful tool for the students, parents, and school, but I also think that it should be carefully not overused.
     
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  5. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I think retention can be a powerful tool if used judiciously. It can help students develop work habits of working hard towards a goal, trying hard to accomplish something, even if they dont see the value of what they are learning at the time, the development of good work habits and positive attitude is equally important.
    It pains me to pass students up who are unprepared for the next grade up, who don’t have the knowledge and skills and are only going to fall further and further behind as they keep getting passed up. It’s like passing the buck to the next teacher who will keep on passing the buck until the kid becomes a part of society, possibly ill prepared for the challenges that life brings.
     
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  6. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    My middle school does not retain students no matter what. Even students who fail get to go to the graduation ceremony. I don't love the idea of retention, but if you have barely done any work all year it does not make sense to move on to the next grade level.
     
  7. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  8. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I'm a huge advocate about changing how we teach the information that needs to be memorized. I'm not opposed to using times table charts if the other instruction doesn't include accurate repetition because guessing at facts does not help most students learn the facts and is even worse for those with memory issues. If the 20 minutes a day is all work sheets and timed quizzes, that doesn't work either (not saying you did that). Good practice includes accurate repetition of facts and number sense practice so students not only memorize but see the connections between the numbers. Flash cards and timed sheets are to improve speed rather than teach.
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Retention at the K-8 level is almost unheard of here; in my career I know of one student who was retained in kindergarten, and that was a lengthy process. Some of the students have to learn the hard way once they get to high school and find that, if they aren't successful in Grade 9 math, they will be doing it again while their friends move on to a Grade 10 math class.

    I think that one of the greatest problems with retention is the thought that students who are unsuccessful one year will magically be successful if they are asked to do the same things again in exactly the same way. I would only see retention working if we are able to offer the students something different that we offered them the first time around.
     
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  10. Ms.Holyoke

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    ^
    I'm saying some kids literally do no work all year so they have not shown that they have mastered the material. The kids that I am talking about likely have not mastered the material as well.
     
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  11. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
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  12. Ms.Holyoke

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    I also have some students with IEPs who work hard but haven't mastered the material. I am opposed to holding these students back because I don't think it is helpful for them. However, their high school needs to be accountable for providing interventions which they are not.
     
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  13. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I took over ESL 2nd gr in the 2nd semester. On my second day, my P asked me what were my plans for the 4 kids slated for retention. I said, I dunno- just got here. Wrong answer! Well, I got it together and use this story for my interviews.

    Two improved immediately once I pulled them out of ‘the little group’. They said, “We don’t do this or that..” I said, “Not any more!”. Si, Tu puedo. Yes You Can! They passed!

    One was low in reading and math. I couldn’t save him.

    One was already 9 yrs old, and had failed Kdg. I was told you can’t retain a child twice or hold them back if they are 2 yrs over average age. She barely knew the alphabet in English and couldn’t read Spanish either.

    But I was told to promote her anyway. :(
     
  14. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    I'm sorry to be that person, but "sí, te puedes*"
     
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  15. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
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  16. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Either one. "te puedes" is like "you (yourself) can do it" as a form of encouragement. Tú puedes is like... you can/are able to. Same literal meaning, different message.
     
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  17. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
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  18. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    I mean, that's what I'm basing it off of. It seems like the grammar and intended meaning should carry over with a reflexive verb - "Sí se puede" means "It is possible" or "You can do it" so in my mind, it should follow that "te puedes" means "it is possible (for you)" or "You (informal) can do it."

    Anyway, not trying to totally derail the thread! XD
     
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  19. 2ndTimeAround

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    Absolutely, it affects students. Kids aren't dumb. I get 9th graders all the time that did absolutely nothing in middle school because they knew they would still be passed along. So they come to my class with major deficits, and often the assumption that the same will happen in high school. It doesn't, which causes some serious behavior problems.
     
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  20. 2ndTimeAround

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    What would those interventions look like? How is placing a student that has not mastered material in a higher level class helping him?
     
  21. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I don't think the student should be placed in a higher level class. I think they should be placed in a class at their level or at the lowest level class with an aide or a co-teacher. (I know this does not happen in schools nowadays. :( )

    Also, at my school, if we retained every kid who did not master higher level material, we would keep about 60% of our kids back...
     
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  22. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    No, it’s I okay. I deserved that. I know. You know. We are all learning.
    Yo se. Tu sabes.
     
  23. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    So are you suggesting that high schools employ middle school teachers? That the students move up to high school but repeat the classes/material they didn't master in younger grades, then take the courses required for graduation?
     
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  24. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I don't have a perfect solution but high schools should have special education classes and sped teachers. Most high school teachers should be able to teach an elementary algebra class, for example.

    I am saying that there are times when it would not benefit a student to repeat a grade and schools need to find a solution that will help this student.

    I have a student right now who has a reading disability and reads at a 3rd grade level. As an 8th grader, it is obviously not appropriate for him to go to the 3rd grade room for reading. I think a pull out service would benefit him best, but obviously my school doesn't provide this. :( Keeping him back a year honestly would not help him.
     
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  25. 2ndTimeAround

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    I agree that they should have pull out classes (and many high schools do have resource classes for identified sped students). But why shouldn't the middle school do this very thing? And elementary?

    I believe that students that don't pass a grade's standards should get intensive "catch up" time the following year. And if they still can't master it, they are held back and placed either in a special class or special school, where the focus is getting them caught up. Where all other subjects are taught at a minimum to master the standards but the focus is hard work to get students where they need to be. Not passed along knowing that the child will just get behind even more.
     
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  26. Ms.Holyoke

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    I do think my middle school should do this. However, the scho has decided that full inclusion is best for all students. It's basically a way to save money.
     
  27. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I often think that our educational system could do with a complete revamping. I'd love to move to a system that was based more on student performance than age, where students would be sorted into something more like ability groups.
     
  28. Backroads

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    I'm rather neutral on the subject of retention. I know the research doesn't support holding them back (why would they get it the 2nd time) but I also saw some research that suggested the kids who were sent along with their peers also wound up at the same level as student who had been retained without a plan.

    Which makes me wonder: We don't want to retain because they might not catch up, but if we send them ahead... they still don't catch up. And we end up with high schoolers with 3rd grade reading levels and poor math skillls.

    I know some schools have mastery programs, which might be the way to go a la what @Caesar753 said. It might be a culture shock at first, but I think we would quickly adjust (and, heck, we could throw in the trade courses from that other thread, too).

    More efficient SPED services might be beneficial, too, though that also seems to be beating around the bush of just giving students a place to master concepts.
     
  29. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I feel gifted & talented didn’t fully cover skipping a grade or making a ‘double’ as in my case. Just because you can read and do math doesn’t mean you should be tossed in 1st gr. And pull out programs make the smart kids stand out, which IMO builds resentment from others. Rarely are the emotional and/physical needs of the child addressed. All of the sudden you’re forced to be a big kid and should “know how to act”.

    Can we provide individualized instruction without yanking kids back & forth or labeling them?? Kids need to learn to manage with their peers. Children not be expected to sink or swim all the time or blend in with the big kids. IMO
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
  30. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Nice job!

    Did you learn Spanish in school or are you a native speaker of the language?

    Here in my area, there's so much Spanglish used! It's almost funny sometimes.
     
  31. YoungTeacherGuy

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    I've never seen retention used past 2nd grade. If it's going to be done, I believe it needs to happen in kinder/1st grade, IMO.

    Honestly, though, I'm not really a fan of retention to begin with!
     
  32. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    I lived in Mexico City for 2.5 months last summer. Trial by fire! The ladies I was working with just sort of stopped translating for me after a month.
     
  33. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    This is great in theory, but I can't imagine possibly providing individualized instruction with more than like 18-20 kids. I had 26 students last year, which I know isn't a lot compared to some, but there were some students that I would go a day or two without any chance to check in on them because of the high needs of other students.
    I loved going to the gifted program in elementary school. I got to miss a whole day of class and work on creative projects that challenged me, and I got to see friends who were doing the same things I was. I never felt like it set me apart from the rest of my class, though I didn't have many friends to begin with so I might have just not noticed a difference!

    I agree that we sometimes have unrealistic expectations of higher students' behavior, but I also think that it's an unfortunate but necessary side effect of the system as it is.
     
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  34. Backroads

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    Also, what does individualized instruction look like?

    I know most of us use it or at least least claim to, but what exactly does that mean? I hear parents and communities talking about wanting individualized instruction... what exactly do they envision?
     
  35. futuremathsprof

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    This post > perfection.
     
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  36. futuremathsprof

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    I think parents envision a world where classes are not taught to the least able. It’s not fair for lessons to drag on because the low-level performers fail to grasp a simple concept and the high and medium performers are forced to sit there, bored out of their whits. To them, it’s like learning your ABC’s. Imagine having to sit through that, day in and day out.

    The lower students should be in a class all their own and taught using the Mastery method that is employed in China and other countries to great effect. They just need that repetition again and again until they master the material.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
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  37. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  38. Leaborb192

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  39. futuremathsprof

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    This times a thousand. They’re too disruptive and should be in classroom that has a lead teacher with one or two teacher assistants to keep them on track and behaving. I think certain teachers should have more support!
     
  40. 2ndTimeAround

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    I don't understand the reasoning "if they didn't get it the first time, they won't get it the second." That runs counter to everything I've ever known. Hell, many of the IEPs I read state that students are to get repeated instruction.

    Of COURSE students are going to grasp material better if they see it/use it multiple times.
     
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  41. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I hear, but I don’t remember.
    I see, but I don’t understand.
    I do, and I learn.

    Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day.
    Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.
     

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