This is the most difficult decision to make academically and socially for
every student. If your student isn’t coping with the workload, pressing
them on to higher grades can exacerbate the problem. Unable to cope with
an even bigger workload, they will fall further behind and be afflicted
by stress and a lack of confidence. However, psychological studies suggest
that holding them back a grade may have damaging long-term effects on
both their social and academic lives.
According to the
National Association of School Psychologists, keeping students back a grade has few long-term benefits and has a deleterious
effect on their social and academic performance. While students may initially
show academic improvement, the impetus of their academic growth peters
out after a year or two and they academic success suffers in the long
run with poorer performances in reading, math and language skills with
the greatest detriment to reading.
More disturbing than the impact on academic performance is the resultant
behavioral problems which students who are held back are more likely to
display. Behavioral issues increase in intensity as students approach
adolescence and there is a higher dropout rate among students who have
been held back a grade.
Experts recommend that the best course of action is to provide students
with extra tutors, additional academic assistance and added moral support
as they struggle to catch up academically. It may also not be up to the
parent as to whether students are able to graduate or not. Many school
districts enforce grade repetitions in cases where students have not performed
If your student is showing signs of struggling academically, it’s
time to take the right steps to remedy the situation. Get their teacher
to highlight the specific problems they have and which areas they need
help with. Use the summer to help them to catch up and learn the social
and academic skills that they need to overcome their academic stumbling
blocks. Getting a tutor is a great way to ensure that they are taught
the skills they need to succeed and the confidence to do a better job
in the coming academic year.
It’s imperative that you and your student take responsibility for
their academic future. While most teachers are more than happy to keep
you up to date on progress and warn you when your student is in danger
of failing a grade, they often have too many students to help each one
Many parents and students have also reported positive results from staying
back a grade. Students who need to mature a little socially or find their
footing academically can benefit from an additional year. If this is the
route you are taking, be sure to pay special attention to your student’s
social development and confidence level.