Deciding whether to have a child repeat grade? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-09-2011, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone had to make a decision about whether or not your child should repeat a grade? What grade was it, how did you decide, and what was the outcome?

 

 

 

 

 

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Old 06-09-2011, 09:36 PM
 
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I do not think this is ok. There is not so much learned in a year that the academics benefits exceeds the emotional impact. Most of a year in school is spent on repetition anyway. Plus, if they really have that serious of problems, holding a child back won't change that. They should have learning disability testing and such.

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Old 06-10-2011, 07:04 AM
 
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I would suggest that your school do a Lights Retention Scale on your DC.

 

It will help evaluate if your DC is a good candidate for retention in a less emotional way- it is a very charged subject and parents/teachers, etc very strong feelings either way.

 

The Lights is a scale that scores various things (age, grade, social skills, academic skills, etc) and will let you know based on research if the child is a good candidate based on facts (vs emotions).

 

EVERY child is different, retention for one kiddo would be in their best in interest nd possible not in the best interest of another of the same age.

 

Also- talk to teachers both of the grade your DC is in and the grade up. Sometimes teachers are pretty pro/con instead of more introspective on retention/skipping (I have known teachers that were anti both no matter what).

 

In the school we are at most kiddos were retained in K or 3rd. Both were/are big transition years. Some kids are just not ready for that transition.

 

 

Also, depending on the grade/age of the child I would look at testing for vision, learning disabilities, and hearing just to cover all your bases. A LOT of K kiddos have trouble due to undx vision issues. It really is a surprising amount.

 

 

Good Luck on your choice, it is never easy.

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Old 06-10-2011, 06:11 PM
 
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I think there are so many factors that factor into it---

 

we know of a child that was in a private K (started at age 5 and turned 6 before the new year) had a very hard time of K and the school did not want to advance, the parents DID-he spent that summer in "summer-school" and the school made him re-test and still the parents pushed that he be placed in 1st- just finished first and is spending the summer with a "tutor" and parents are insisting he go to 2nd

 

IMO- what a way to hate to learn! throw in lots of pressure and you have a great mix

 

he is socially immature and the school was against it, parents seemed to care more about perception and thought it could be "made-up" with help--time will tell but now things do not look good --very sad


 

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Old 06-11-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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My son repeated kindergarten this past year. His birthday is six weeks before the cut off and it turned out that he needed more time. So "I" asked to have him repeat. It has been the BEST thing in the world for him. He's so much more aware and confident and is ready to take on first grade in the fall.

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Old 06-13-2011, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, KCMichigan, that is helpful. I had not heard of that scale/test.

Our child is academically average, but has always been emotionally and socially a little behind. She was young to start K and now having come to the end of a very rough 1st grade year, we are thinking a repeat of 1st might benefit her in the long run. We have made no negative associated with it, she likes the idea, and she happens to be changing schools this year (although there are some other students she knows from her current school also changing to this school).

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Old 06-13-2011, 09:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Polliwog, We were in this position last year and didn't push for the repeat. We wish we had and are questioning it still at the end of first.

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Old 06-16-2011, 08:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Katia View Post

Thanks, KCMichigan, that is helpful. I had not heard of that scale/test.

I'm not sure if this is the most current version, but you can probably get a ballpark idea of how she'd come out on the Light's Retention Scale by taking a look @ this online copy.

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Old 06-16-2011, 10:06 PM
 
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Katia - 3rd grade is brutal mostly for girls. or perhaps i say that coz i have a dd.

 

it seems this retaining is for social reasons. if you are going to do it, i would do it now. repeat first grade and not second. 

 

you want her to go to second fully confident and have a great year so that she can handle 3rd grade. 

 

your dd will need all her wits about her to handle 3rd grade cattiness.

 

i dont want to scare you. it really isnt that bad. however there is a big subtle growth spurt happening, hormones changing and so there is so much meanness and attitude around. sooo much. the same child who can be sweet at this moment, might be really mean the next moment. and if your child is going thru this phase and is hyper sensitive then she will struggle to deal with this. as almost all the girls in dd's class struggled with. 


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Old 06-16-2011, 11:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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meemee, Yes, it would be emotional/social. Emotional for the most part. She is sweetly immature. Thanks for the comment on 3rd. The school where she was, I though 1st was socially brutal among the girls. It seemed sad given they are only 6!     ChristaN, thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Old 06-17-2011, 07:34 AM
 
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This question has come up many times and I will always answer the same way, unless your child is already significantly younger than the others DONT!

 

My son was 61/2 when he was deemed by his Waldorf teachers to be too immature to go to 1st grade. The result was disastrous.  Once he was back in kindergarten he became unruly and aggressive, obviously bored out of his brains. We finally left the Waldorf system but by the time we felt it was too late and it would be too traumatic to  put him back into the grade he was supposed to be in. Finally at the end of his 1st grade, what was supposed to be his 2nd grade, we followed the advice of the resource teacher of the new school he would be going to (a Catholic school) and bit the bullet,  putting  him in 3rd grade, the grade he was supposed to be in, the following year. It was a tough year and he had a lot of catching up to do. The whole experience really hurt his self esteem however, we are happy he did and it HE is really happy that he is in with his own age level too. He caught up and has been doing well in school for some time now. 

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Old 06-17-2011, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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She is young. She was 4 starting regular public school kindergarten. We live in California, where the cut off is currently December, but is changing to September 1.Had it been September 1 when she began school, she would be in Kindergarten this year, not 1st.

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Old 06-17-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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Take the change in cut-off with a grain of salt. California has been announcing moving back cut-offs since my DS was born 10 years ago. Maybe it'll happen for real this time or maybe not.

 

Having worked with the schools for many years, I'll say that most retentions I've witnessed have not been good in the long-run. Everyone is thrilled the first year retained and then it starts to go down hill. Kids who were positive about not moving in k or 1st grade often feel that self-confidence hit around 3rd and 4th grade when they are fully aware what repeating a grade meant to them and to their peers. Long-term studies don't favor retention either. Our district will no longer retain children for "immaturity." It resulted in too much "grade correction" in middle school when older children were very out of place academically and socially in the lower grade. They only retain now if there is a diagnosed and correctable issue. Otherwise, kids have a good repeat year but then face the same problems they had when they DO promote the year after.

 

That said, all situations are different. It's not something *I* would do. I'd probably be looking for alternative educational environments like charters that fit my child's needs more. If that is not an option, I guess you have to work with what is available to you.

 

 

 

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She is young. She was 4 starting regular public school kindergarten. We live in California, where the cut off is currently December, but is changing to September 1.Had it been September 1 when she began school, she would be in Kindergarten this year, not 1st.



 


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Old 06-17-2011, 10:19 AM
 
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katia - you have to figure out what feels the right thing to do is for your child.

 

i like the Light's Retention Scale and i would talk to teachers.

 

because this is  such a personal thing.

 

dd too started K on her 5th bday. if she was in the neighboring school district she woudl have started at 4. while since she is socially advanced it didnt cause any problems, school was such a disappointment for her that now looking back, she would have rather enjoyed a year more of play based ps.

 

this is such a personality thing. you CANNOT look at statistics.

 

to illustrate this point but from a different angle - dd's socially advanced uncle was not allowed to skip a grade because he was the first child and the parents were scared of the results. instead they skipped their 2nd child - a quiet shy boy who was and still is socially challenged in a big group. the mistake was they skipped the wrong child and didnt skip the right child. and both the sons suffered due to that reason.

 

so really a blanket statement does not apply for every single student. a statistic is just that. a statistics. 

 

in dd's 3rd grade class - the kids range from 8 to 10 (rare 8's, majority 9 yet a lot of 10 year olds).

 

if you held ur dd back she would still be on target.  

 

another question. has your dd formed some really close friendships with any of her class mates? i guess she is not guaranteed to go up with teh same students but its something for you to look at. 

 

some questions to think about. you dont have to answer them here. 

 

how is your dd doing? is she not really enjoying school? given a choice would she rather skip school or go there? is she on par academically or beyond?

 

in dd's K class there were 3 kids who were academically far behind. the teacher agonised over whether to retain them or not. seh passed them through but second grade was a nightmare to 2 of them and all 3 were retained in 2nd grade. academically they did much better a second time. with two of them something developmental happened and what they were struggling with they suddenly got. the 3rd little boy (yeah he is TINY too with glorious big eyes and eyelashes - my favourite coz i've never seen such a big heart on a child) the teacher had long discussions with the parents and decided to not hold him back again just coz they dont know what else to do. with him the case is damned if you do and damned if  you dont. 


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Old 06-17-2011, 10:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

 

 

this is such a personality thing. you CANNOT look at statistics.

 

 

While I agree that statistics aren't everything, to say that you CANNOT look at them is irresponsible in my book. You wouldn't make a medical choice and not not compare and contrast the success rates of various options. Schooling is no different. The more educated you are, they better choices you'll make. Absolutely look at the statistics! Should you make your decision solely on them? Of course not. However, we can all learn from the mistakes and triumphs of others. You wouldn't want to know that the majority of rention cases have negative long-term side effects before making that choice? I'd want to know. Believe me, I looked at everything... the good, the bad and the ugly before agreeing to accelerate my eldest 9 years ago.

 

Yes, kids are individuals. Yes, they all have different needs. Don't ignore those who have walked the path before you though. If MOST aren't happy in the long-term, find out why, see what the alternatives are. If you are still sure retention is the right move, then identify common pitfalls and try to avoid them.

 

 


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Old 06-17-2011, 08:43 PM
 
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We are holding back our 7 yo dd this coming school year. She will be repeating 2nd. She is one of the youngest in her grade due to her late summer bday. We just moved to another state so our approach will be that we moved before the end of the school year so she didn't officially finish 2nd grade (left 2 months before school ended). We also plan on telling her that the state we are in now has different rules about what grade you are in. Hopefully this won't raise any issues with her thinking she's being intentionally retained. 

 

We have decided to retain her for a variety of reasons the biggest one being she's one of the youngest in her grade. I suspect she may have mild dyslexia. She was diagnosed privately with dyspraxia and the OT couldn't diagnose her with dyslexia (out of her area of expertise) but that the kids she tests/evaluates my dd has the same results as the dyslexic children she treats/sees. I feel my dd is able to cope and compensate however it has taken a toll on her self-esteem. She's very hard on herself and sees that she is incapable of doing things other children in her class are able to do, particularly in reading. She is the type of child that when something doesn't 'click' for her on the very first try she gets very frustrated and shuts off. I feel she will have an advantage at being the oldest in the class vs. the youngest. Right now I feel like it is a constant struggle for her to keep pace with the rest of the class... as though she is hanging on to the shirt tails of the other kids. I'm hoping as the oldest it won't be so much of a struggle and her self-esteem will improve. If she isn't dyslexic I think an extra year will give her the time she needs to develop/strengthen her current weaknesses in directionality of letters and numbers, sequencing, tracking, and reading skills. Perhaps the symptoms of dyslexia is just a matter of an immature nervous system. 

 

I've discussed this with her counselor and with the OT and they both agree with me that retention could be very helpful for her. We're at a now or never point b/c of the move and I think it's an ideal time since she knows nobody here and we can use the excuse of it being a different state as to why she will go in to second grade again. Also, in our new state there are support services available to her such as a reading specialist. 

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Old 06-17-2011, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This thread is only proving what a difficult decision this is. It could go wrong, regardless of what we decide!

 

So to put it all in one post, our dd is 6 and in 1st grade. She will not turn 7 until the fall. She is academically (low-end) average, but is (and always has been) immature. Looking back, we should have held her in preschool one more year. (Actually, we should have moved her to a different preschool for one more year. She had outgrown her then-current preschool.) Since the decision to put her in K, we questioned retention after K. Her teacher, whom we respected greatly, felt that it would do her a disservice academically. She did have the bandwidth for more academics, although she is still "average." Now, after 1st, we are still concerned about her maturity and social interactions. She is quite naive, as well. Her first grade year/teacher/school setting were major disappointments and were extremely rough. She vacillated between wanting to go and not wanting to go to school. We considered pulling her to home school, but did not. We did adjust her schedule, so she was having a shorter day and this helped.

 

Now she has finished her 1st grade year. She is changing schools, although there are a handful of other children from her former school moving to her new school. (This change of school makes the decision feel more acceptable. We would not hold her back if she were at the same school, although if she were to stay at that school, I think she is less ready for 2nd than at the Waldorf-based school she is moving to.) We have spoken with her counselor, her pediatrician, teacher friends, and others openly and in a positive way about having her repeat. (We haven't been looking at it as a negative "retention" since she will be repeating at a new school, which has a completely different, Waldorf curriculum.)

 

Dd is positive and content with the idea of repeating first grade and is very excited about her new school, which she has been transitioned into familiarity with in a smooth way.

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Old 06-20-2011, 12:19 AM
 
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Given that age-wise she 'should' be in 1st grade, then this may be more of an 'adjustment' than retention. The studies that argue against retention (and yes, they are almost universal in saying that retention doesn't help kids in the long run) are talking about kids who are held back so that they are a year older than their classmates. That's a different story because a 12 year old 5th grader is a different child than a 10-11 year old 5th grader. You'd still have a 10-11 year old 5th grader.


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Old 06-20-2011, 05:58 AM
 
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Given that age-wise she 'should' be in 1st grade, then this may be more of an 'adjustment' than retention. The studies that argue against retention (and yes, they are almost universal in saying that retention doesn't help kids in the long run) are talking about kids who are held back so that they are a year older than their classmates. That's a different story because a 12 year old 5th grader is a different child than a 10-11 year old 5th grader. You'd still have a 10-11 year old 5th grader.


I completely agree.

 

As an educator, I've read ALL the research on retention. There are so many gray areas. Much of the research was done before NCLB changed what each grade looks like. I've always been pretty much against retention but it was right in my DS's situation. His birthday is six weeks before the cutoff. That's just a blip on the radar. His teachers agree that retention isn't right for every child but for MY kindergartner, it was the right thing.

 

 

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Old 06-20-2011, 06:00 AM
 
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Meemee, I've TAUGHT third grade and never noticed all of this doom and gloom that you talk about so much. FOURTH grade is definitely a changing year. Academics get much more difficult.
 

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Katia - 3rd grade is brutal mostly for girls. or perhaps i say that coz i have a dd.

 

it seems this retaining is for social reasons. if you are going to do it, i would do it now. repeat first grade and not second. 

 

you want her to go to second fully confident and have a great year so that she can handle 3rd grade. 

 

your dd will need all her wits about her to handle 3rd grade cattiness.

 

i dont want to scare you. it really isnt that bad. however there is a big subtle growth spurt happening, hormones changing and so there is so much meanness and attitude around. sooo much. the same child who can be sweet at this moment, might be really mean the next moment. and if your child is going thru this phase and is hyper sensitive then she will struggle to deal with this. as almost all the girls in dd's class struggled with. 



 

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Old 06-20-2011, 06:49 AM
 
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Meemee, I've TAUGHT third grade and never noticed all of this doom and gloom that you talk about so much. FOURTH grade is definitely a changing year. Academics get much more difficult.

 



It may depend on where you live.  Both of my girls did find a lot of girl drama and mean girl issues cropping up in 3rd grade and I've had teachers tell me that it is a very hard year socially.  Maybe the girls are older here in 3rd, developing sooner, or something else.  My girls were both 7 going on 8 in 3rd and are later developers, so it wasn't that they were hormonal themselves but 4th was a much, much better year for both of them.  Academically, they both found the work very easy in 4th as well.  My oldest is a very advanced student so I'd never go off her experience for gauging how challenging the work is, but we didn't see a big step up for either of them in terms of the work load or challenge in 4th.  It all may be regional, though.

 

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Old 06-20-2011, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone. The responses have given me some good input to think about!

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