The information below provides elementary parents, teachers, and school administrators with guidance when making student placement decisions. When considering factors for promoting a student, the readers of this document are reminded that a lack of progress on one or more factors should not automatically result in a decision to retain a child.
The document is organized by these sections:
(1) Students can be successful at the next grade level without all factors being present or without being highly proficient in each skill listed.
(2) Special consideration should be given to students with disabilities and ESL students.
(3) Students who demonstrate difficulty in achieving expected milestones during the first semester of the school year shall receive remedial instruction commencing no later than the beginning of the second semester.
Promotion Guidelines: Kindergarten
The student considered for promotion to first grade demonstrates:
Ability to count, recognize, and write numbers (as noted onKindergarten Report to Parents)
Demonstrates understanding of number concepts using concrete objects
Social, emotional, and physical maturity commensurate with age and grade, including –
Ability to communicate with others
Ability to follow one or two step directions
Promotion Guidelines: FIRST AND SECOND GRADE
The student considered for promotion in grades one and two demonstrates:
Promotion Guidelines: THIRD through FIFTH GRADES
Social, emotional, and/or physical maturity commensurate with age/grade including:
Students Considered for Retention
Remediation strategies used at the elementary level may include, but are not limited to:
Modified/differentiated/accelerated instructional programs,
Tutorial sessions provided by the reading resource coordinator or Title I personnel,
Mentor program participation,
Alternative learning models,
Special tutoring or participation in an after-school “homework club,”
Extended day activities,
Summer school, or
“Early Back” program.
Retention should be the last resort.
During the last decade, many educational groups have reassessed the wisdom of retention practices and have called for practical alternatives. At the school level, principals and their staffs have also considered the effects of retention, and have found that retention carries risks for both short-term and long-term student achievement. Further, retention can negatively impact a student’s aspirations for success. Gains in student achievement through retaining a child appear to be non-existent in many cases and short-lived in some instances.
Retaining a student for all subjects for an entire year is a decision that impacts a student for the rest of his/her academic career. Often, a child merely needs additional assistance through specific remediation or intervention strategies to attain success. Retention decisions should never be made based on a single indicator, such as the child’s reading level or a score that the child received on the Standards of Learning Test.
Consequently, an ad hoc Child Study Team or Student Assistance Committee will be formed at the school to review all data related to the teacher’s recommendation for retaining a student. This committee can be comprised of the following members and will consider various factors listed below:
Principal; Classroom Teacher(s); Parent(s) and/or Guardian(s); and, Guidance Counselorand may include the Special Education Teacher; Social Worker; and, Psychologist.
The committee will review these factors when considering the placement of a child:
Academic strengths and weaknesses from a variety of assessments
Physical size and development
Learning styles and modalities
Motivation to learn
Should a decision be made to retain the student, one option for this student’s placement for the next school year is with his/her current classroom teacher. If this option is not utilized, the current classroom teacher will meet with the teacher who will next receive the child, specifying areas of the curriculum with which the child displays proficiency. The current classroom teacher will list specific skills or concepts for which the child displays weaknesses.
Both teachers, in consultation with the school’s administration, will develop a written plan to address the student’s academic strengths and weaknesses during the next school year. This plan should ensure that the student continues to be engaged with challenging work for areas displaying strength and is receiving specific, on-going assistance. Copies of the Plan will be given to the child’s parent(s) or guardian(s).
Schools are encouraged to develop alternative approaches for instructional delivery methods rather than simply retaining the child. As an example, a retained first grader’s individual plan could specify that the student receives mathematics and science instruction in the second grade because he/she exhibits proficiency in those areas.
The progress of the retained student should be carefully monitored during each nine weeks period, making adaptations to the Plan based on the student’s academic improvement. A result could include a full advancement to the next grade during the year or advancing to the next grade for one or more subject areas.