As the school year draws to a close, many people assume youngsters will automatically advance from one class grade level to the next. However, this may not be the most advantageous course for every child., for lots of reasons. Academic, emotional, social, and other concerns may contribute to a child’s readiness for promotion.
Ideally, a child will complete one school grade per year. However, each child is different, and special cases may require additional attention and evaluation. Some children are even able to skip a grade during their school years, while others may need to repeat one. A child who is struggling academically may benefit from a repeated grade.
How can parents determine whether a child is ready for a new academic grade level? Here are nine questions mothers and fathers may find helpful, as they face this decision.
1. What do the child’s teachers and school administrators say about the youngster’s progress in school?
Parent/school teamwork is important. Families, school staffers, and perhaps professional counselors may cooperatively consider what is the best course for a child. Educational experts may offer insights and suggestions, based on their own experience and the child’s school performance academically, behaviorally, and socially.
Ultimately, however, the family must make the decision in the best interest of their own offspring.
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2. What do the student’s standardized academic test results indicate?
School-administered academic testing may offer helpful information about the child’s readiness for advancing to the next grade level, as well as his or her learning style, particular challenges, and areas of strength. Test scores, combined with report cards and parent-teacher conferencing, can prove extremely helpful in the decision-making process.
3. Does the child show signs of social or personality delays?
Children mature socially at varied speeds. Delayed social development may be a reason for holding a child back for a year. Parents and teachers may be able to observe and evaluate this together.
4. Does the child have special needs?
If a child has been diagnosed with a learning disability or educationally-related special needs, particularly during a given school year, then a repeated grade level may provide additional needed assistance.
Also, a student who is being mainstreamed from special education into the traditional classroom may need to move back a grade to make the transition.
5. Is the child switching schools?
Changing schools (locally or during a family relocation) may present an ideal opportunity for holding a student back a grade, particularly if that child seems to be struggling academically or otherwise. Perhaps the new school curriculum is more challenging, or the classes move at a faster pace.
In communities with multiple schooling options, even moving a challenged child from one local public school to another may offer a chance for a comfortable opportunity to repeat a school grade. In such a case, the youngster will not be singled out by previous classmates, as they advance to a new class without him or her.
Moving from public school to private school may necessitate a repeat of a grade level as well. Private school academics are often accelerated, particularly where class sizes are smaller. Reduced staff-to-student ratios allow these institutions to move more quickly through lessons. New students may have considerable catching-up to do, if they enter at their given grade levels.
6. Are you moving out to a new country?
A family who relocates from one country to another will want to examine their academic options closely. Curriculum will differ dramatically internationally, and the grade levels may not be directly equivalent. Foreign language challenges may also make academics more difficult.
7. Can you pick the best teacher for your child?
In many school districts, as well as private schools, parents have the option of selecting their preferred teachers for their kids. When this is possible, the choice can be a big help, especially for students who may benefit from certain educational approaches or teacher personality styles.
8. Have you considered homeschooling?
Parents who are able to homeschool their youngsters can offer individual teaching paces and customized curriculum programs. This option may be directly tailored to the child who struggles a bit at his or her current grade level in school.
9. Are you switching a child from homeschooling to an in-school system?
On the other hand, a student transitioning from homeschooling to a traditional classroom setting may benefit from repeating or changing school grade levels upon entry. Homeschooled kids may have covered different considerably different material than those enrolled in classroom programs.
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Repeating a grade level does not need to be a source of shame.
Sometimes, taking one step back can send a child three steps forward. In fact, staying back for a year may provide a child with an extra advantage that jump-starts his or her entire academic career. By repeating a grade, a challenged child may find he or she is ahead of the class for the very first time. The resulting confidence may provide a surge of success for a struggling student and a fresh chance for school success.