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ceceteran27
ceceteran27 asks:
Q:

I'm thinking of holding my son back in 6th grade

see my son was in 4th grade and he took a test and then the principle called and said he should be in 5th cause of his age so he went to 5th and graduated barley and then went to 6th and now he has nothing but problems in school.

please help c
In Topics: Helping my child with school work and home work
> 60 days ago

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Expert

lkauffman
Mar 18, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

As you consider grade retention for your son, there are a number of issues to keep in mind. First, you should learn all that you can about research examining the short- and long-term effects of grade retention. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has published a position statement (which means that prominent members of the NASP got together, reviewed the evidence, and determined their official "position" on the issue) on grade retention. Overall, the research indicates that students who are held back/retained have worse outcomes academically and emotionally than their peers who were also candidates for retention, but who were promoted. I believe that you should ask his teacher. What does she recommend?

Has your son ever been tested for special eduation? I ask because it sounds like he may have a unique learning style and/or difference that is getting in his way, prohibiting him from accessing the school curriculum. This situation is not particularly unusual as the public school system is designed for the "typical" learner. However, I suspect that your son may need some accommodations or modifications to curriculum, changing the way in which information is being presented to him. However, you and his teachers need to discover what his learning needs are first. I suggest that you get the ball rolling for securing a special education evaluation for your son. There are a number of ways to do this, but you may start by talking with your son's teacher. Express your wish to have him tested, and follow-up with her in order to make certain that the request has been translated to the special education coordinator. Another option is to submit a written request directly to the school principal. Here is a sample letter: http://www.ncld.org/publications-a-more/checklists-worksheets-a-forms/sample-letter-requesting-evaluation. The school must respond with a plan for evaluation or an explanation for why they are choosing not to test. It is in times like this, that you will need to continue to educate yourself on your rights as a parent and dedicate yourself to assuring that school personnel follow through on their responsibilities. For more on navigating special education, please see the following article: http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Questions_Often/

If, and when, your son is found eligible for special education, school personnel will help devise a plan of accommodations (which may include tutoring provided by the school) to support your son. Hope that helps. Good luck and keep us posted!

L. Compian, Ph.D.
Counseling Psychologist
Education.com Expert Panel
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Additional Answers (7)

ronald
ronald writes:
Ceceteran,

Decision to hold your child back is a very difficult one. Not knowing the details makes it difficult to offer an informed opinion. I believe the  best people to decide are the classroom teachers and you the parent. If you are in a middle school with multiple teachers, then you have the benefit of getting feedback from several teachers. You should discuss with all of his teachers the pros and cons of holding your child back. IF your child has a grade level counselor then this person too is a great resource. Pleae read article referenced below.

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LDSolutions
LDSolutions , Child Professional writes:
Remember - it didn't work last year it isn't going to work this year!!!!  My advice to you is to get him tested right away for a possible learning difference.  Then get him the help he needs.  This includes accomodations and modifications in the classroom and remediation that is the right program for him.  He needs to start feeling good about himself.  Holding him back is not going to build his confidence OR give him the skills he needs to move forward.
> 60 days ago

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MrsReading
MrsReading , Child Professional, Teacher, Parent writes:
Hi C,

How does your son feel about all this? He is old enough to weigh in on this decision. Listen to him, he can probably tell you any areas he is weak in or why things went wrong in 5th grade for him. I would not have him retained if he is against the idea. Instead, I would avail myself of tutoring services over the summer to fill in any missing gaps.
> 60 days ago

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mradke
mradke writes:
Also what i have found its not up to you.  We tried to hold our son back in 6th grade.  The Principal refused. There was not much i could do at this point.  It hurts to feel so helpless.
> 60 days ago

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pengwen
pengwen writes:
I say go with your gut.  You have to fight for your son.  You know him best.  I tried several times to hold my son back in elementary school and was urged against it by the administration.  Today he is in 10th grade and still struggles.  I wish I had held him back.
> 60 days ago

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christinasutula
christinasu... writes:
do what u think is best for your son.
> 60 days ago

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FlunkingIsNoFun
FlunkingIsN... writes:
I can't speak for any of the parents, as you know your child better than anyone. But one thing I would caution, if your child has low self-esteem already, please think long and hard before you decide to hold your child back.  Please make sure you ask him and see how he feels about it. I was held back in 1st grade, and it was a pretty devastating experience. Some say that the experience gets worse for the child as they get older.  Almost on par with loosing a parent. Just imagine that everyone at your job got a promotion except you. Then at the yearly company parties, they rub it in your face and made fun of you because you didn't get promoted. Or maybe they simply kept asking why you didn't get promoted, and you had to come up with an excuse that wouldn't further erode your self-esteem by bring to light your inadequacies when trying to answer them. Then, multiply that times 12 years.   That's what being held back felt like during grades 1-12. Seeing all my friends move forward, while I stayed behind had a lasting affect on me. It made me feel like I was never smart enough to keep up with my peers.  I remember sometimes dreaming that I was in the 2nd grade with them, and being so happy that I caught up, only to rudely awake and realize that I was still in first grade while they all moved on to 2nd.  Then it was on to second grade for me, while everyone else moved on to third, so on and so forth...always lagging behind,...always one step behind.  

I always had extreme anxiety and stress growing up as a kid, especially when we would visit or have parties or get-togethers with my parents friends and their kids. I always remember having to explain or defend myself or make up lame excuses as to why I was held back, just to save face in front of family friends and other kids that would ask or make fun of me.  I always resented how other parents would brag about their kid's accomplishments in school, while my parents had nothing to brag about.  Sometimes I would feel that I let my parents down, I let myself down.  I just remembered being a stressed-out little kid growing up, always fighting to defend myself from the barbs of being called or perceived as stupid, dumb or slow, but it usually never worked.  Basically, everybody new me as the dumb kid who flunked first grade.  I got over most of it; but I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't easy. To this day, I still do occasionally struggle with self esteem and self confidence issues.

I'm not saying all children will go through what I went through if they are held back, but just be careful and make sure your child has a healthy self-esteem before you do decide to hold them back. When councilors or teachers say "your child is only 5, they'll forget and get over it. They're too young to know what's going on." Do not believe them. I'm 40 years old. I knew and understood what being held back meant when I was 5,  I'm still not 100% over it, and I remember it as if it happened yesterday.

Please, as a parent, if you take away anything from this post, do everything in your power to boost your childs self esteem at an early age. Because self-confidence is much harder to build when you're older. If I had a choice between raising a child to be over-confident and cocky vs one who had no self esteem, I would choose the former. A cocky child can always pick themselves up when they fall and with time, they will be humbled. A child who falls with no self esteem may not be able to pick themselves back up. Promoting self-esteem, and self confidence in your child is the greatest gift you can ever give them as a parent.  The gift of loving yourself. Please be very careful and talk to them before you do decide to hold them back.
-Mo
> 60 days ago

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