Grade Retention

A child getting left behind in school or having to repeat a grade is unfortunately more common than one may think. The good news is that research shows the percentage of children left behind has decreased from 3% to 1.5% from 2005 to 2010. This percentage continues to decrease due to the No Child Left Behind Act. But what happens when a child is held back, or retained, and doesn’t deserve to be? Or if a child goes on to the next grade level even when they aren’t ready?

Reasons for retainment

Children are usually retained in the same grade due to internal and external factors. Internal factors include struggles with progressing on skills or stagnating performance levels. External factors include learning disabilities, the learning environment, and trouble at home.

Internal factors can be helped by tutoring and summer school, while external factors can require more assistance. If a student has a learning disability, appropriate measures must be taken to provide suitable education for that child. If a child is having trouble at home and can’t seem to focus in the learning environment, then it’s important to meet with the student to determine his or her needs and help guide and motivate them.

Is it effective?

Repeating the same grade again doesn’t always help the student reach necessary achievements. In fact, sometimes it does the exact opposite. A study done in 2014 concluded that children who repeat a grade between kindergarten and fifth grade are 60% less likely to graduate high school than kids in similar circumstances. A child having to repeat a grade can also have a lasting effect on their confidence in the long-term.

Health Screenings at School

In New York State, the law requires public schools to routinely check for hearing, scoliosis, and vision. These exams are completed by licensed health professionals and are in place to catch problems early before they can develop. Although these screenings will not provide you with an official diagnosis, they are in place to identify issues that your child may have.

Often, children do not even know they have issues identified during these tests. Your child may not realize the whiteboard is slightly blurry or that their hearing is impaired. This is why these standard screenings are so important. Scoliosis is a condition that can worsen over time, and should be treated as soon as a note is sent home.

It is important to contact your pediatrician if your child comes home with results that require medical attention. Your pediatrician can get you the help you need to ensure your child’s education is not impacted by these conditions. Always keep checkups scheduled yearly to catch these types of problems. Scoliosis is not tested as early on in school, but your pediatrician can catch it if your child develops it early.

To see sample letters that your child may receive after one of these health screenings, visit the New York State Center for School Health for more information.

Communicating Effectively with School Personnel

If you ever find yourself wondering who the adults in the room are while your child is at school, you are not alone. Many teachers are accustomed to keeping in touch with parents about how their child is doing in school. Having an open line of communication with school personnel can put your mind at ease. However, unless you have specific concerns about how your child is doing academically and socially, it is not expected for teachers and parents to check in frequently.

Getting Started

In the beginning of the school year, parent-teacher conferences are a great way to get acquainted with your child’s teacher. Teachers are often quite busy during this time of the school year, but these appointments give you an allotted amount of time to get to know each other. Take advantage of this time to express concerns or ask questions. Establish what the best way to reach them is, as some teachers prefer email over phone calls due to time constraints in the classroom.

New Challenges

Getting accustomed to a new teacher’s style may be difficult at first, but it’s important to listen to both what the teacher is communicating to you and how your child feels. Rules and classroom procedures vary with every teacher, and sometimes children need more time to adjust. It is important to keep in mind that teachers have your child’s well being at the forefront of their concerns. Depending on your child’s age and level of maturity, it can be beneficial to encourage them to solve problems independently before you step in.