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Social Promotion VS Grade Retention

Every year, by the end of the school academic year, educators across the country confront the issue of deciding on grade retention or social promotion for a student who has not done well in studies and/or examinations. While some schools opt for social promotion, others decide on grade retention. At a glance, the issue here seems to be grade retention vs. social promotion. However, another related concern that educators may have relates to the benefits of social promotion or retention: would the student benefit most when socially promoted or when retained in the same grade?

As is often the case, educators decide on grade retention or social promotion based on their perceived benefits of either of these two options for the student concerned. The difficulty in deciding on social promotion or grade retention is made even further complex when children with special needs affect their ability to learn and requires special educational support.

All regular schools have established school content (the curriculum the students are taught) and certain performance standards that are expected of them. In most instances, whether a student meets the established performance standard in the content taught is decided based on the test performance. And educators use to test performance as the primary basis for promoting or retaining a student. So, when a student with a learning disability achieves low on a test, should that student be provided with a social promotion or learning disability? The call for reforms in school education is now on the rise partly due to civil and human rights issues.

Over the last many years, education anywhere is surrounded by efforts to ensure equal access to a quality education for many special populations which includes the girl student, the economically disadvantaged, and of course the student with a disability. This has indeed led to continued tension between equity and excellence, and equality and quality. Our society expects our schools to produce results. 

To be continued.

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