|I said Crystal Ball, not Disco Ball!|
and sent on to the next grade? Were they in over their heads? Did they sink or swim this year?
Ultimately, we do what's right for kids, but who knows for sure exactly what that is? It differs student by student, that's for sure. Once we retain a student, he or she is considered at-risk. Do you know what that means? Technically, that the student is at-risk for dropping out. Really? Yep. Retain them twice (which we would NEVER do) and they've got like a 100% chance of not graduating. At all. Staggering, I know. But sometimes retaining students gives them a little more time to mature.
We retained our August boy, for example, in second grade, not because he was behind academically, but because he was struggling socially. We probably should have delayed entry and not even started him because he was actually four when school began that year. Even though he successfully mastered all of the grade-level skills, he spent his first three years floundering to keep up with his peers behaviorally and emotionally. It was the most difficult decision we ever made and probably the best gift we could have ever given him. Does it make any difference, then, to retain if it's strictly to give them extra time?
We certainly wouldn't retain if there's a suspected disability that's hindering their success. We also look at size and whether or not there are siblings following closely behind. Sometimes it's a second-language issue that's delaying progress. We look at OLSAT and ITBS scores if we have them. We also look at intervention data. And ultimately, we have to ask ourselves if another year of the same is going to help a student catch up. That's where the crystal ball would really come in handy! For clarity. Any way you look at it, it's SUCH a difficult thing to decide. So today I'm wondering this: What is your school's policy on retaining students? And if you don't really have one, how do you decide to retain or not to retain?