Grade Retention

Grade retention is the practice of having a student (usually a general education student, rather than a special education student) repeat a grade level of schooling. A retained student is sometimes referred to as having been "held back." In Canada and the United States, this practice is only used in the elementary, middle and high school level. Advocates of grade retention argue that this is done so as to help the student learn and sharpen skills such as organization, management, study skills, literacy and academic which are very important before entering middle school, high school, college and the workforce. However, extensive research has found short term gains but little to no long-term improvement from grade retention, and significant harmful effects. The alternative to grade retention is a policy of social promotion, where students are promoted to the next grade despite their poor grades in order to keep them with social peers. The aim of promotion is not to harm the students' self-esteem, to keep students together by age (together with their age cohort), and to allow teachers to get rid of problem students.

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