July 28, 2008

Ocala rethinks high grade-retention rates

In the late 1990s, Florida instituted a requirement that third-graders reach a certain test threshold in reading or be held back in third grade. Now Marion County schools (which includes Ocala) is rethinking grade retention where it can (hat tip), once they realized they had several hundred middle-school students who could legally drive.

The research on retention is fairly clear: if you have the choice between holding a student back a grade and praying they somehow improve, on the one hand, and advancing the student a grade and praying that they somehow improve, the better long-term choice is to promote the student and pray. Then again, my colleague Sister Jerome Leavy would point out that while plenty of Catholic schoolteachers believe in the power of prayer, you gotta do some teaching, and that's a poor way to frame public policy questions. Retention/promotion questions are an administrative distraction from the need to identify children who need help and intervene early.

Listen to this article
Posted in Accountability Frankenstein on July 28, 2008 9:45 AM |