In every school, teachers and parents evaluate their student's progress over the school year at the end of the term.
Sometimes a conflict erupts—either the teacher feels the child is not ready to progress to the next grade level or the parents do.
Then comes the question that keeps principals up at night—should the child be held back, or is that damaging, and should they progress normally?
This decision shouldn't be taken lightly, and teachers, the administration, and parents must collaborate to reach a consensus.
Some parents will want their students to progress, no matter what, due to social pressure, and some will always err on the side of caution, wanting their child to stay back and be as prepared as they can be for high school.
Parents know if the child has been struggling at home and how much they need to coach them to complete their homework and teachers have the perspective from the classroom, that is, how the student asks questions in class and their performance on tests.
As far as educational evidence, there are findings on both sides—some show that retention delays emotional growth, and some show that holding a student back actually leads to more confidence in higher grades. Every case is unique.
To help students avoid repeating grades, more emphasis has been put on early intervention and after-school programs designed to help students complete their homework and boost grades.
Yet, this still doesn't answer if a student can only complete the work on their level with maximum help, should they be retained?
In this article, you'll get a look at the earliest grades where retention is less intrusive and get guidelines and questions you should ask when deciding if your child is ready to advance to the next grade level.
Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?
Kindergartens are no longer the free play centers of our youth. Students have a full curriculum now in most Kindergartens and begin to learn reading and math skills. However, there are some signs that your student may need to further prepare for Kindergarten. First, your child should be relatively adjusted about being away from home. It's common for many students to be homesick in the first few days, but if your child is inconsolably sad the entire first month, it might be time to consider sending them back to a half-day preschool.
Next, students need to communicate effectively with their teachers and peers in Kindergarten. In preschool, tears did a lot of the communication, and teachers prompted students to find out what was wrong. In Kindergarten, the teachers and the other students will expect the occasional tears, but they will also expect that your student can communicate what they need most of the time.
Cutting and pasting is a regular activity in Kindergarten. While your student doesn't have to be an expert in these skills, they should know how to hold a pair of scissors, have an idea of how to cut out figures, and have the fine motor skills to paste them onto surfaces. It also helps if your student can do simple tasks like put on their coat or tell their teacher when they have to go to the bathroom.
Is My Child Ready for First Grade?
First grade is the first time many students will be sitting behind desks and expected to attend a subject without the freedom of movement they had in Kindergarten.
It may also be a child's first brush with homework, and although usually, they'll still consider such work fun; nonetheless, there are specific skills that are crucial for success in first grade.
The first is the ability to concentrate on a task until completion. Of course, all students have minds that wander, but your first-grader should be able to sit down and complete a simple task without much fuss.
A first-grader should recognize all the letters of the alphabet and begin to read books on their grade level—this will vary from child to child, but they should show progress in their reading skill.
A first-grader should also understand and follow simple directions and express what they need and want without frustration.
Is My Child Ready for Second Grade?
The second grade may be the first time a student has a few different teachers for different subjects and may encounter challenging homework.
Your second-grader should be able to read simple instructions with minimal difficulty and should be able to start printing legible words.
In addition, they should be able to add and subtract single digits easily and have a basic mastery of the spelling of familiar words.
Is My Child Ready for Third Grade?
Third grade is the entrance gate to true elementary school. By now, they will be sitting at desks, either individually or in groups, for most of the day and will complete regular homework.
As a result, school may start getting challenging for students who, so far, have not had any trouble.
Students should write in complete sentences, quickly read words they often use, add and subtract two-digit numbers, and solve simple word problems in math.
Take Your Child’s Unique Situation Into Consideration
Every child is unique, and their skills must be taken in the context of who they are and what difficulties they face. The purpose of this article is to give a basic guideline for the essential skills a child should have in each grade; nevertheless, the choice of whether a child should progress to the next grade level is a weighty decision.
Some students will not have particular skills entering a grade but will have mastered them by the middle of the year. Teachers and parents must closely examine each child's unique situation and work together to determine whether or not they advance to the next grade level.
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