Should struggling students be allowed to repeat ?

There has always been an unresolved stern debate over whether to settle for grade retention or a social promotion when it comes to children. Many believe the process is an emotionally draining and perhaps a detrimental intrusion leading to educational malpractice. These words are not those to be shrugged off, so let’s find out what the actual problem is.

Struggling Students

The odds of retention revolves around reasons like failure to meet the performance level required to reach the next grade or struggling with reading and writing ability or age problem in whole. And obviously (not to forget), we have the world’s best education system (Is it so?)! On a sincere note, there are provisions for remedial tests which some schools conduct in the form of a disguised opportunity for students who did not crack through their final exams at once. In most cases, these assessments aren’t beneficial too. A student who could not persist through a whole year’s syllabus can hardly make it again within such a short notice. Henceforth most schools retain these students. Retention is observed as an important way to make certain that a school is practicing its responsibilities – i.e., mentoring students in the right manner; making students learn through failures. In some cases, schools offer this approach to display that they are tough enough in their policies, for a better reputation and attaining academic excellence among other schools.

However, a research study by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) advocate otherwise. Their reports have established that the academic performances of kids who are retained are shoddier than the promoted kids, retention brings close to behavioral complications, grade retention is the most important reason behind high school dropouts, and only the early months are fine to go by but eventually retention proves damaging for students. In short, the losses are greater compared to the aids this process comes with. Here the losses being spoken of are that of overwhelming emotional unrest where a child starts feeling inept and incompetent enough to give up on themselves. Even if they are imaginative or good in some sports or have excellent painting skills, chances are the fear of being judged by others is too heavy to balance the psychological needs of a child, eventually leading to losing their motivation for their passion as well. There are socio-emotional variations to be taken care of. Also, retention is not used homogeneously in all schools. Even in other countries, schools with enrolment of African-American, Indian, etc. hold cases of highest retention mainly among the poor, minority and inter-city youths.

On observing honestly, the real question doesn’t really lie in whether to promote or retain but to find out what is really getting in the way. Infact some of the top strategies for mentoring children for success are to learn each pupils’ learning style, strengths, weakness, likes, dislikes, and finding out ways to adjust all of them. Even parental involvement is considered one of the greatest ways to nourish a child. Obviously interventions by everyone in a child’s mentoring have to be in a healthy way but parent-teacher closeness could bring individual attention to the child as schools get to identify their problems. Problems like – how much the child needs support while making a project or learning something, how much peers’ contribution matters to them, whether or not they’re being attended to regularly, whether or not their participation in other activities of the school enough, what motivates them, etc.

Before settling a debate over whether or not to promote a child, it’s high time that we question ourselves, find a common tunnel to get through and win. Because it is clear how parents’, schools’ and teachers’ union can pave the way to a child’s bright future – them learning up in a healthy way.


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