Transparency in Teaching (Stuff) Podcast

033 Is It Time to Stop Promoting Social Promotion?

Hey, it’s Anne here to introduce today’s episode all about social promotion, you know, that practice where schools promote students to the next grade based on age instead of mastery. The idea is that keeping kids with their peer group is better for their self-esteem, not to mention promoting students with behavior problems provides some relief to the teacher, knowing that the student who made class crazy won’t be back in their class next year.

The alternative has been retention. The idea is that repeating a grade will let struggling students improve skills that weren’t at grade level. Research, however, doesn’t back this idea up. Instead, retention increased the dropout rate and lowered students’ self-esteem. And though initially, it did boost student performance, the gains didn’t continue over the long haul.

So what’s a teacher to do? In this episode, we discuss what Ed Code and district policies say about retention and promotion. We explore what research is saying and what’s happening in our classes. Then, of course, we explain our suggestions for how to fix this mess.

Oh, and a new voice joins us in this episode. Welcome, Yvonne, who shares her elementary school teacher perspective. Now we have voices from grades K through 12. Unfortunately, Yvonne’s audio isn’t as clear as it should be, and some of her insightful comments may be difficult to hear. AND Sharyn was mobile on headphones and left us when her phone died. However, she did get in her usual insightful comments in the beginning.

Again, as always, thank you, dear listeners, for tuning in and sharing our podcast with friends, family, teachers, and others interested in knowing what is really happening in our classrooms. Please rate and review us on your favorite platform, as it really does help listeners find us. Leave us a voice comment, and we just might use it on our next show!

Join the discussion

Further reading

Back to school

Back-to-School Blues

As summer vacation is ending, I was wondering if you are beginning to get a nervous tick when you hear, “Back to School Sale?” Or do you find...