7 Wrong Reasons For Grade Retention

Rebecca Nelson/Digital Vision

Whether or not to hold a child back a grade is a very serious decision that can have a huge impact on your child's future success.  Get this decision right, and school struggles may vaporize.  Get it wrong, and the damage could last the rest of your child's time in school.

Often people believe that if a school age child simply didn't learn the material or received several poor grades, then repeating the grade so they can get it right would be a solution.

  In reality, it is rarely this simple.  Holding a child back a grade should only be done if it is the correct solution to the underlying problem - usually a child who is developmentally just not ready for the grade that he or she is currently in.

Your Child Was Sick or Injured This School Year 

If your child missed out on some of the material that was being taught due to absences from being sick or injured, it may be that they need a catch up plan to get only the missed material.  Holding them back a grad3 places them with a  younger group of peers, and has your child receiving a lot of the material for the second time that they probably did understand.  If you knew that the injury or illness would lead to a great deal of school absences, you can work with the school to come up with a plan to help make sure your child will eventually be on track again.

Your Child Shows No Motivation

There are several different possible reasons that a child may not be motivated to do their school work.

  Depression, anxiety, grief, and undiagnosed learning disabilities are all possible causes for a child or preteen to lose motivation to do their school work.  These issues are different than just being at a different developmental stage than their current grade level.  Instead, search for the cause of low motivation, and find ways to help your child succeed.

  Holding back a child with no motivation will only lead to another school year with little work being accomplished.

Your Child Is Often In Trouble At School 

Children and teens who struggle with behavior at school are not at a different developmental stage. 

Your Child Has A Learning Disability 

Children with learning disabilities need to find educational strategies and learning programs that work with their unique ways of processing information.  Assessing the learning disability and then creating a 504 plan or an IEP will allow your child to learn the academic material, while continuing to develop socially alongside their own age peers.

Your Child's Culture Is Different From The Rest of The School 

A child should not be held back in school because of their cultural background.  the USA is a very culturally diverse country, with many different neighborhoods and communities made up of a variety of cultures.  to give an example, a native American student who has recently moved from a reservation community to an urban school may appear to be behind academically and socially at first.  Many Native American cultures speak slower, and people take more time to think about that they will say before speaking.

  When these children first relocate to urban schools settings where people speak and respond quickly, it would be easy to assume that the child who needs to take their time may benefit from repeating a year.  Instead, making sure to explain cultural differences to both the school staff and the student so that they can find ways to enhance learning.

Your Child Has Switched Schools Several Times 

Every time a child changes schools, they must learn a new set of rules, find new friends, and adjust to their new surroundings.  All of this time spent adjusting to the new school can compete with academic learning.

Rather than failing a grade, working through the adjustment and then taking time to find and work through any academic gaps will lead to success.

Your Child Needs To Learn What Happens When They Get Bad Grades 

A child should never be held back or fail a grade to "teach them a lesson."  Repeating a grade involves much more than just doing work that they may not have done over the course of the year. 

Continue Reading