ERIC Number: ED421560
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Sep
Passing on Failure: District Promotion Policies and Practices.
American Federation of Teachers, Washington, DC.
This study reviews research and looks at promotion policies in 85 school districts, including the United States' 40 largest districts, describes the practices that support social promotion, and identifies the policy changes that will be necessary to break the social promotion-retention-social promotion cycle. Social promotion prevails in these school districts because many districts implicitly support it and because in most districts there are no agreed-on, explicit standards of performance against which student progress can be judged and on which a credible and defensible promotion decision can be made. Teachers rarely have the final authority on retention decisions. There are few provisions for programs to prevent or intervene when students fall behind. Policies to help underachieving students must address the underlying causes of failure. For some students, repeating a grade may make sense, but for the majority of underachieving students, systemic change is required. Policies and practices must address the lack of standards, undemanding curriculum, underprepared teachers, and administrative indifference that undermine achievement. To eliminate social promotion, the following actions are required: (1) instituting polices to prevent early school failure; (2) adapting rigorous grade-by-grade standards; (3) providing timely intervention for students who are falling behind; (4) placing well-trained teachers in every classroom; (5) making it a top priority to give all teachers opportunities to learn how to teach students to read; and (6) learning from schools and districts that have successfully implemented research-based reforms. Three appendixes contain a list of districts participating in the survey, the criteria of the American Federation of Teachers for judging the quality of student achievement standards, and descriptions of four promising programs for raising student achievement. (Contains 6 tables and 44 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Federation of Teachers, Washington, DC.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
Note: Appendix C has been separately published with slight modification, see UD 032 410.