Should my Student Stay Back a Grade?

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 well academically.

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 individually.
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.