Retention is the process of holding back students in their previous grade especially those who have failed to meet the set requirement of the institution they are learning in.
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The students are normally forced to do the same grade again: that which they had covered the year before (Shepard & Smith 2009). There are however both negative and positive effects of retaining students.
Some of the negative effects include: social-emotional problems, school dropout, and poor academic achievements in the long run. Positive effects includes: it gives the students the chance to learn again and gain new skills and knowledge that they had not obtained in the previous academic year.
This paper explains whether retention work in schools today taking into consideration both the positive and negative effects of retention process
Many at times, schools and teachers advocate for retention of some students because of they think that the child is still young, when a child have limited academic skills, they have poor language skills, they are not mature enough to handle the next grade and if the student miss classes frequently.
For a long period of time, retention has been debatable on whether to implement it in schools or not. Extreme research has been conducted on potential alternatives that can be used in place of retention.
It has however been found that retention is of no benefit to a child and there are high chances that it will have many negative effects on the child.
A study was conducted whereby students who had poor academic skills were combined in the same class with those students who were repeating their grade. After some period of time, they graded them based on their performance and compared them to their previous performances.
The results showed that all the students in this class experienced relatively high test scores after retention during their first study year but in year two, three and four, their performance score was poor (Pawlas & Olivia 2007).
This clearly shows that there are no benefits obtained in retaining students and it proves that retention does not work. However, researchers still believe that later on retention might prove to be effective.
In addition to being expensive, there are no academic benefits or advantages obtained from retention. This is because it does not add any value to the students.
The academic performances of those students who had repeat was poor as compared to that of those other students who had been promoted.
However, educators still continue with the procedure of retaining weak students even after retention has proved to be ineffective. Today, retention is still a major approach used by teachers with a hope and intention that it will cure their academic problems and failures.
The practice of retention has persisted even after literature and research proved that it brings no benefit nor add any value to students when it comes to personal adjustment and achievement instead retention had proved to be of harm to the students.
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According to a study conducted on the impacts of retention on individual achievements and student’s perception and attitude towards education, they found that retention had much greater negative effects on individual achievements and student’s perception and attitude towards education (Pawlas & Olivia 2007).
Students who are retained will find hard time adjusting themselves to accommodate or fit in the new group of students. It is not always easy to make new friends. There is also shame that comes with being left behind which normally lead to low self-esteem.
Retention makes students feel that they are failures even if that is not the case. Having low self-esteem may lead to failure and that is why parents and teachers should look for the best way of helping out the child instead of retaining them back.
Students usually consider retention as the most stressful event in their life time because they will have to deal with the shame and making of new friends.
Most students especially those who have been retained but had average grades usually feel much more devastated and may lose focus and even interest in education.
Retention always gives students negative attitude towards school especially if they have been retained for more than two academic years. Some students who have been retained usually drop out of school. This therefore means that retention is one major factor that leads students out of school.
Students who have been retained but continue failing may become more devastated with education. They will develop the feeling of not being capable hence work out of school. Older students may become bad influence to the younger children.
The younger children may also be at risk especially if the older child who has been retained is a bully. This means that there will be no peace in the class which may lead to poor academic performance.
There is however some positive effects of retention on students and they include: it gives the students the chance to learn and gain new skills and knowledge that they had not obtained in the previous academic year.
Researchers believe that if retention process is presented correctly, it can help students obtain a positive attitude of I can do it which will help them achieve better grades/scores in their next academic year (Shepard & Smith 2009).
Promoting students without good academic groundwork may make them feel uncomfortable and mad. This will destroy their chance to cope with their studies since the next academic level will be more challenging to them.
There is however no need of retaining students if it does not work or bring any form of benefits to them. The best thing that parents, students and teachers should do is to look for the best alternative that will enable the student obtain better performance outcome.
One best alternative that can be used is to ensure that students have encounters with pre-kindergarten. Children who go to school late shall have missed one academic year of study into kindergarten.
Research however shows that those students who join school late when they are older are less likely to be retained in future and they will have fewer problems with school subjects. Head Start Programs can also help students improve their social skills, learning skills and good health status.
Social promotion enables students to operate at the level where they feel comfortable. This normally enables the students to perform well in academics.
Accelerated Schools Project, Success for All and Reading Recovery Program are some alternatives that can be used since they help diminish the chances of retaining students (Thomas 1992). Success for All provides students with the right resources that will enable them learn faster and be on time.
On the other hand, Reading Recovery Program mainly focus on enabling students learn how to read. It actually supports students during the period in which they learn how to read.
Lastly, Accelerated Schools Project catalyzes the pace at which students get to learn and obtain instructions from their teachers. This will enable them to be fast learners.
There are some people who however blame teachers for the retention process. They claim that teachers and principals in schools have lacked will to stay focused and committee themselves to adapting instructional and curriculum practices to students with different leaning capacity.
There are some schools that often overlook the progress of some students instead focus more on their own failures. Some people however blame standardized testing that have been set by schools to have caused retention.
This is because those set standards determines and declares students who are unprepared to move to the next class.
There are some institutions with higher standards which normally declare a large group of students to retain the class. This mode of testing the students is always biased especially those from the middle-class in America.
In conclusion, it is well evident that retention does not work but instead it cause more harm to children than help. There is however no need of retaining students if it does not work or bring any form of benefits to them.
Students who are retained are normally stressed: they find it hard to adjust themselves to accommodate or fit in the new group of students. Retention always gives students negative attitude towards school.
Retention destroys the self-esteem of students: it makes them feel that they are failures. Retention is a stressful event for students.
Pawlas, G. & Olivia, P. (2007). Supervision for Today’s Schools. New York: Wiley Publishers.
Shepard, L. & Smith, M. (2009). Flunking Grades: Research and Policies on Retention. London: The Falmer Press.
Thomas, A. (1992). Alternatives to Retention: If Flunking Doesn’t Work, What Does? Oregon: Oregon School Study Council.