School districts sometimes propose (or insist) grade retention for your child in order to allow the child more time to develop the skills that s/he did not develop this school year or to allow the child time to mature before moving on to the next grade level. Is this an effective or appropriate course of action?

The research of various departments of education and other organizations do not support use of grade retention (See, for example, Of Primary Interest by the Colorado Department of Education, et. al.; National Association for School Psychologists; National Association of School Psychologists; and the U.S. Department of Education: “Students who are required to repeat a year are more likely than other students to eventually drop out, and few catch up academically with their peers. The right approach is to ensure that more students are prepared to meet challenging academic standards in the first place.”).

Parents must demand that school officials consider whether their child’s deficiencies are the result of immaturity or an inappropriate Individualized Educational Program (IEP). Deciding that your child be retained may not be in his/her best interest. The IEP team should consider the effectiveness of grade retention against the potential for improvement under a refined educational program.