Several states are considering requiring mandatory retention of third graders who don’t read at grade level. Here are some articles and posts about this insanity, and I’m adding them to The Best Resources For Learning About Grade Retention, Social Promotion & Alternatives To Both:
Schools Get Tough With Third-Graders: Read Or Flunk is from NPR.
Third Grade Again: The Trouble With Holding Students Back is from The Atlantic.
Retention Costs More, Accomplishes Less is from Robert Slavin at Ed Week.
Flunking 3rd Graders is Not an Intervention is by John Wilson at Ed Week.
The Opposite Of Social Promotion is by Nancy Flanagan at Ed Week.
Flawed, ideological, non-peer-reviewed studies should not rebut decades of anti-retention research is from Scott McLeod.
I taught for three years in a special, in-house program for non-reading or well behind third graders. We used Project Read, a variant of the Orton-Gillingham method, to jump start our kids. At the end of each year, about half of my class had acquired enough reading skills (not necessarily on level, but reading fairly well) to move on to regular fourth grade. Of the remaining 50%, about half were retained in regular third grade (as opposed to my third grade developmental class they’d been in) with the other half having been tested and diagnosed for placement in special ed with grade placement to be determined by the case conference committee.
The program was local, and it worked. Under Indiana’s current retention law, I’m not sure such a program would have even been attempted.