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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070608.wfail09/BNStory/National/home
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Across Canada, in fact, holding children back has become increasingly rare. Instead, children who do not meet minimum grade standards usually move ahead with their peers — a practice known as social promotion — while also receiving remedial help.
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Interesting work, but I quite liked this observation from one of the dissenters:
"I think it just has an adverse effect on them because it teaches them that, 'You know what? I can get by without doing my best.'"

...and that is a valuable and practical lesson about life. beejacon
 

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My sister is a teacher at the Calgary Board of Education and my mom is a retired teacher from the same place. Both have told me that failing students isn't an option anymore.

I honestly don't know which way is the best over the long term.

It was the early 1980s and officials learned of the high retention rate by chance through a testing program that found that about 20 per cent of pupils, many of them boys whose birthdays fell just before the enrollment cutoff, were in their second year of Grade 1.
One of the things that really ticked me off about both my mom and sister is that they know about these statistics and still put a lot of pressure on me to enroll my son in Grade 1 the same year that my niece is scheduled to start attending. She turns 6 in November 2008 but my son doesn't turn 6 until February 27, 2009...the absolute cut-off for Grade 1 is March 1.

I told them that wasn't going to happen because I was aware of these statistics as well and both gave me a rough time because of it. :mad:
 

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Palindromic Pooch
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Interesting thread (to a teacher, at least). Three observations:

1. To the dissenter, I would say, "Consider the message that failing sends."

2. To zoziw, my wife was a primary teacher. In BC, the cutoff date is December 31. She had to teach a lot of boys born in the fall who were just not ready when they were made to start school. We held our son (born Dec. 17) back, and have never regretted it.

3. To gt, amen (as long as you're implying that the fault doesn't lie with the child, and therefore neither should the consequence).
 

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3. To gt, amen (as long as you're implying that the fault doesn't lie with the child, and therefore neither should the consequence).
The fault doesn't lie with the child. Children are like knowledge sponges. Practically anything you put in front of them, they will absorb, at an incredible rate.

The education system uses a shotgun approach to teaching kids. Blast a room of 25 kids with the same stuff, and hope that 60% of it sticks with most of them.

Too many households are double-income, put the kid in child care families. No one-on-one time with their own child.

I never understood adults who have children, but continue to work two full-time jobs, and have someone else look after their kid. What's the point of having a kid then?
 

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"Consider the message that failing sends."
The message that failing sends is "you failed"! What is wrong with that? If you don't make the grade, you have a right to know! The truth is better than candy coated bull****. People deserve an REALISTIC estimate of their level of competence.
 

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The message that failing sends is "you failed"! What is wrong with that? If you don't make the grade, you have a right to know! The truth is better than candy coated bull****. People deserve an REALISTIC estimate of their level of competence.
Right on rgray! :clap:

A guy a year older who failed grade 10 and wound up back in class with me in the 50s, went on to be the CEO of a very successful $200 miliion Canadian company. That's because he understood what it meant to fail. He never failed again. There's a message there for those pansies who would coddle students and cause more harm than good in the long run.
 

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SINC, your argument takes no account of the vast number of people who didn't fail and are now wealthy, the vast number of people who did fail and are not wealthy, and the fact that there are some people who are going to succeed or not succeed in life regardless of what the education system does to them.

Your argument also hinges on the assumption that wealth and position are measures of success--an assumption whose truth is by no means obvious to me.
 

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2. To zoziw, my wife was a primary teacher. In BC, the cutoff date is December 31. She had to teach a lot of boys born in the fall who were just not ready when they were made to start school. We held our son (born Dec. 17) back, and have never regretted it.


Born the 16th of december in BC, never had a problem with school. started kindergarten and was just peachy. I know a few kids like that, and they hated being held back a year, because it give the stigma of being stupid, when they clearly aren't.

And was it just boys that were born in the fall who weren't ready?
 

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Z has it closest especially for boys who slip behind girls in their development early on.
The problem arises in mental age versus physical age - not all kids develop mentally or physically at the same rate.
There are also social issues to take into account which are incredibly important to kids self esteem and social integration.

I have one of each each....so much for your parenting nonsense GT ....my daughter was skipped forward a grade and thrived - my son had a different set of challenges and is only now settling into synch with the educational system versus his age.

Another kid had the same mental acuity as my daughter -his mom - a teacher at the school kept him grade 5 instead of skipping ( she recommended Meghan skip ).
Why - he was physically very small and a skip from 4 to 6 plus his small size she felt would be intimidating.

EVERY kid is different.
This is one area where early edu can really help in that it can identify before the grade system those that are ahead on development and those that are not in synch with their age average development either socially or mentally.

THAT's the point, to hold a kid back THEN....as Z points out....especially with boys who are behind girls up to about Grade 9.

Failing a class I agree with when there is a makeup coourse available in the summer or after school. That sends a huge message without screwing up the critical peer relationships.
A happy, confident kid in an environment appropriate to their talent is an ideal goal rarely met as it's difficult to adjust a massive system to the individual child.
Observing parents CAN help adjust what level of challenge their child faces in school and balance out the pros and cons of any given change proposed.
The biggest imnpact parents have in my mind is fostering self esteem and confidence and providing early edu to get them off to the best possible start and give some assessment of where they are developmentally.

Boys pee the bed far longer than girls...that's innate not "learned". It's a different development stage and within each male or female broad category there is a wide variation of development pace mentally ( knowledge acquiring ) and socially as well as physical skills.

Failing a kid an entire grade is a step I think would rarely end in a positive outcome for the student. ( except perhaps a repeat of kindergarten for a "not ready" child.)

Repeating failed courses IS I think one tool that is useful.

This author has good points to make

http://www.educationreformbooks.net/failure.htm

How Children Fail

by John Holt

Reviewed by Kah Ying Choo

In his groundbreaking book, John Holt, draws upon his observations of children both in school and at play to identify ways in which our traditional educational system predestines our young people for failure.

Holt argues that children fail primarily "because they are afraid, bored, and confused." This, combined with misguided teaching strategies and a school environment that is disconnected from reality and "real learning", results in a school system that kills children’s innate desire to learn.

The following is a summary of the author’s conclusions:
1. Fear and failure: Schools promote an atmosphere of fear – fear of failure, fear of humiliation, fear of disapproval - that most severely affects a student's capacity for intellectual growth. External motivation – rewards such as grades and gold stars – reinforces children’s fears of failing exams and receiving disapproval from the adults in their lives. Rather than learning the actual content of the lessons, students learn how to avoid embarrassment. This atmosphere of fear not only quells a child's love of learning and suppresses his native curiosity, but also makes him afraid of taking chances and risks which may be necessary for true learning to occur.
There are more points he makes...this one in my mind could easily be extended to the age 5

From the time of birth until the age of three years, children have a "tremendous capacity for learning, understanding, and creating." Adults – either through their own actions, or through excessively dictating their children’s actions - destroy most of the this intellectual and creative capacity. Most frequently, we destroy this capacity by making our children afraid; afraid of being wrong. Holt’s examination of our present educational system is a critical and insightful study, one which forces us to look more closely at the lessons that we are unwittingly imparting to our young ones.
It takes a village........I suspect ECE intensive societies confront the "failing a grade" situation less often.
I also suspect a comparison of kids that failed a grade and went on to be criminals would be enlightening.
Criminals very often have low self esteem.

Using prospective data from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study birth cohort, the authors found that adolescents with low self-esteem had poorer mental and physical health, worse economic prospects, and higher levels of criminal behavior during adulthood, compared with adolescents with high self-esteem. The long-term consequences of self-esteem could not be explained by adolescent depression, gender, or socioeconomic status. Moreover, the findings held when the outcome variables were assessed using objective measures and informant reports; therefore, the findings cannot be explained by shared method variance in self-report data. The findings suggest that low self-esteem during adolescence predicts negative real-world consequences during adulthood.
http://eric.ed.gov:80/ERICWebPortal...Search_SearchType_0=eric_accno&accno=EJ733875
 

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We held our son (born Dec. 17) back, and have never regretted it.
I was born on Dec. 29 and my parents enrolled me into school with kids born in the same year
No problems, but I did always feel younger than my classmates

my father did refuse to let them accelerate me from grade 5 to 6 thinking the age difference might be too much for me, especially with me being born so late in the year

my first cousin born 5 days earlier was allowed to accelerate from grade 5 to 6 and he ended up in an older crowd, got involved with drugs and eventually committed suicide before he turned 20
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Anyone have you seen any research on the distribution of mental development by gender? Anecdotally, through almost all my years of schooling, most of the brightest in my classes were boys, as well as most of the laggards.
 

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Criminals very often have low self esteem.
I wondered when, in this discussion, the self-esteem boogie man would rear its ugly head.

The quoted statement is far too simplistic, and grossly misrepresents the current state of thought in academic psychology on the subject of self-esteem. Recent reviews and meta analyses strongly suggest that problems with self-esteem are NOT related to the level of self-esteem per se. High or low, the issue with self-esteem is its accuracy. Carl Rogers said that problems of personality and behaviour result from incongruency between one's concept of oneself and and the concept as reflected by the reality of the world around. This is exactly the situation with self-esteem. Bullies do not bully because their self esteem is low, in fact measures of self esteem taken in custodial situations finds bullies to have very high self-esteem scores. Bullies bully when their erroneously high self-esteem is challenged. That is, when the real world estimate of them disagrees with their own estimate, ie. their self esteem. Attempts to nurture self esteem in education have run to setting evaluations that a spatula could pass and then praising performance that passes thereby contributing to an artificial assessment of self-esteem in the child. Children deserves an accurate reflection of themselves otherwise they cannot orient themselves effectively vis a vis the world.
 

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While often the parents, the system, etc. can be faulted for a failing student, moving them ahead for social reasons cannot be the right answer.

Some of life's most valuable lessons are learned through failure. These lessons can be painful, however passing students on in this manner does not teach them that there are consequences to actions/lack of actions and in the work place, to your performance.

Working with many, many young people who are joining our company for the first time, we have a responsiblity to teach them what a solid work ethic looks like. That means that people are accountable for what they do and don't do. It's a tough lesson made tougher when they have not experienced the same sort of accountability for their marks in their "other job" which is school.

Right on rgray! :clap:

A guy a year older who failed grade 10 and wound up back in class with me in the 50s, went on to be the CEO of a very successful $200 miliion Canadian company. That's because he understood what it meant to fail. He never failed again. There's a message there for those pansies who would coddle students and cause more harm than good in the long run.
 

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"...contributing to an artificial assessment of self-esteem in the child." An excellent point, rgray. As a teacher of students in grades 2/3, 6, junior and senior high school, as well as undergrad and grad students at the university level, I have been faced with this situation either in a direct or vicarious manner. It is not an easy call, but a blanket pass and a social advancement regardless of what the student has attained does no one any good.
 

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"...contributing to an artificial assessment of self-esteem in the child." An excellent point, rgray. As a teacher of students in grades 2/3, 6, junior and senior high school, as well as undergrad and grad students at the university level, I have been faced with this situation either in a direct or vicarious manner. It is not an easy call, but a blanket pass and a social advancement regardless of what the student has attained does no one any good.
Amen Dr. G. Amen.
 

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Having failed French three times in high school and math once, I was told by my guidance counsellor not to consider college but to take up a trade. Sadly, I am no good with my hands. I would have made more as a plumber or an electrician than I do as a university professor, but I have 4 university degrees to show my guidance counsellor was wrong in her assessment of me.
 
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