stephanie jones

Georgia’s Promotion/Retention Policies – Advocating for Parents, Students, Teachers, and Administrators

In family-school relations, high-stakes tests, justice, NCLB, Retention Policies, social action, Standing up for Kids, stephanie jones, teacher education, teacher education resources on June 13, 2009 at 5:21 pm

We all know how ridiculous it is to decide a student’s fate on one test score. It doesn’t make any sense at all from an academic, social, emotional, or policy perspective. Teachers, students, and parents know best about how a student has progressed across a year – and if a teacher doesn’t know that, then she is not doing her job. I can’t get to this issue though – because kids’ lives are being ruined by unthoughtful decision-making about whether they should be promoted or retained. Wanna know the odds that a kid will finish high school if she or he is retained one time in their educational career? Not good…check out the statistics for yourself.

I’ve heard numerous stories about students in all grades being spontaneously “retained” at the end of the school year because – and only because – of the CRCT scores. And kids are carrying home this news on the last day of school – crying on school buses. This is regardless of how well the student has done all year.

Here are some facts about the Georgia state policy on promotion/retention:

THERE IS ONLY A STATE POLICY FOR 3RD, 5TH, AND 8TH GRADE regarding CRCT scores -

THERE IS NOT A STATE POLICY FOR OTHER GRADES regarding the CRCT scores – DO NOT LET SOMEONE TELL YOU THERE IS (or ask for it in writing – I can’t find it anywhere). That means that any last minute decision to hold back a child in K,1,2,4,6 based on CRCT scores is not substantiated in state policy – and parents, teachers, students should fight this decision if it is not in the best interest of the child.

For 3rd (READING SCORES ONLY – DOES NOT REQUIRE MATH SCORES), 5th, and 8th graders (BOTH READING AND MATH):

1 – The school district should have a local policy about how the CRCT is “weighted” in decisions of promotion and retention.

2 – The school district should have a local policy about the other factors that will go into deciding whether a child is promoted or retained.

ASK ABOUT THESE TWO POLICIES. ASK FOR THEM IN WRITING.

3 – If a child in 3,5, or 8th grade does not pass the CRCT, the family must be notified BY FIRST CLASS MAIL WITHIN 10 DAYS OF THE SCHOOL’S RECEIPT OF THE SCORES WITH THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:

a) The below-grade level score on the CRCT

b) The specific re-tests to be given and testing dates

c) The opportunity for accelerated, differentiated, or additional instruction (this can be like summer school – but this is NOT mandatory for students to attend prior to retaking the test. It is only mandatory for the school to offer it).

d) The POSSIBILITY that the student might be retained for next year

IF THE STUDENT RE-TAKES THE TEST AND STILL DOESN’T MEET GRADE LEVEL EXPECTATIONS:

a) The principal may choose to retain the student – and if so, the student’s family must be informed BY FIRST CLASS MAIL of this decision, AND of the option of the parent/guardian or teacher to APPEAL this decision.

IF A PARENT/GUARDIAN OR TEACHER APPEALS THE DECISION:

a) A “placement committee” must be formed and convened to discuss information about the child from across the school year that one might not know from looking at the CRCT scores. This committee would be: the principal OR a designee, the family/parents/guardians/ (I would add other advocates), and the teacher or teacher(s) who know the student best in the subject of the CRCT. If a child receives special education – THE IEP COMMITTEE IS THE PLACEMENT COMMITTEE).

b) In addition to other things, the placement committee must establish ongoing assessments for the child in the next year to monitor her/his progress.

c) The decision to promote to the next grade must be unanimous.

BUT – IF IT IS NOT – THERE IS A WAY TO APPEAL THIS DECISION THROUGH THE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT. CALL THEM AND ASK FOR THE POLICY IN WRITING AND ASK FOR SOMEONE TO EXPLAIN IT TO YOU IN PERSON OR OVER THE PHONE AS WELL.

Listen – the No Child Left Behind Act has created a machine that eats up children, families, teachers, and administrators. CRCT is part of the machine. Everyone is working over-time to cover their own butts – and you’ll find VERY FEW PEOPLE going out of their way to save a child who is dangling over the edge getting ready to plummet into the grinder.

If you don’t do it – no one else will.

STAND UP FOR KIDS.

(ALL INFORMATION PULLED DIRECTLY FROM PROMOTION/RETENTION POLICY DOCUMENT “STATE BOARD RULE” 160-4-2-.11.PDF ON THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION WEBSITE. I have paraphrased most of this given the complex language of the original document – but I have also pulled some direct quotes. I have the full pdf if someone wants to contact me about getting it)

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  1. I had to do something similar (prepare and present a portfolio) for a couple great readers that did not pass their reading test the 1st year that NYC made retention contingent on that high stakes test. These are normative times.

    Some of you may be interested in this piece I ran across. Patrica Carini gave a talk in 2005 that speaks to our current context of public education and calls listeners to act and to resist:

    “. . . It is the self-hood which embraced in the full measure of its diversity unites us in our common humanity while, in the same gesture, the uniqueness each of us brings is affirmed.

    In relation to readiness to act and to sustaining resistance, to keep this focus, to not for a minute blink or lose sight of what is at stake, seems to me the great task before us.”

    For the complete talk, please click http://www.prospectcenter.org/docs/carinifallconf110505.pdf

    In solidarity,
    Lori

  2. [...] on CRCT scores that don’t meet the threshold for “passing” onto the next grade. Click here to see what the appeals process [...]

    • what happen when a child pass on part of the test and fail the other. I want to no why should the child be retain.

      • Hi there! If the child passes one test (for example, reading) and fails another (for example, math), I would ask to meet with the teacher and principal to discuss the child’s progress across the entire year. The test scores – alone – are not supposed to be the only determining factor for retaining a child.

        If a teacher did not give any indication during the school year that there were other concerns and possible reason to retain the child, I would insist that a meeting be called and the child’s work from across the year be examined for growth and progress.

        I hope this helps – let us know what happens.

    • Hi, your information is extremely helpful. My child scored a 798 in 8th grade math and will be going to summer school for 3 weeks then retesting on 26 jun in liberty county. His yearly math average is a 74. Where can I go to find information testing and what it entails? I am pretty confident he will pass, but I would like to see a CRT for myself.

      Thank you for all you are doing.

      • Hello and thanks for stopping by!
        Check out crctpracticeonline.blogspot to see if you can link to study guides and practice tests. If you can’t find any there let me know and I will help locate others.

        Good luck to you and your son!
        Cheers,
        Stephanie

      • Thank you for the information, I am having my son use it. Oddly enough I am more nervous than he is. While math is not his strongest subject, he typically scores well on tests. I think what you do here is marvelous; I will do a follow up with the results. Again, thanks!

      • Just wanted to let you know that my son scored 823 on the CRT math retake. Thanks for your help.

      • Terrific news! Thanks for letting me know:)

  3. hi my son passed the reading part of crct with 804 he only scored 779 on math and needed 800 his report card for the year says he should go on why should he be retained
    the principal says he needs to be taught a lesson and next time he will do better. help me fight for my childs future

    • “Being taught a lesson” is not sufficient reason for retaining a child. Have all the policies been followed – for example, was a team of people called together to decide whether or not he would be promoted? Has he had summer school opportunities? Has he had the opportunity to retake the math test?

      • To Stephane jones I need help with my sons CRct we just moved 45 day ago from another state so work is a little different they told me if he does not pass reading they will keep him back I do know what to to he only been in school for 45 days thus is crazy no help or nothing I do not think it is fare help please anyone

      • Hi Anonymous – I’m sorry, I thought I replied right away but I don’t see my comments here.

        I’ll paste comments I made to another parent:

        Thanks for your comments. Did you see my response about the requirement that the principal, teacher, and family meet before deciding to “retain” a child based on a test score? You cannot just be “notified” that your child will be retained because of the test score – your child should have supplemental instruction, additional opportunities to pass the test, and the “team” that meets to discuss retention or promotion can provide evidence that your child will thrive in the next grade level and make the decision to promote her.

        If I were you, I would emphasize that moving schools and changing lives in this way, adds a layer of anxiety and stress in a child’s life that can impact her performance on an already-high-stakes test. Ask to see “other evidence from the classroom and ongoing formative assessments” from the teacher that your child cannot thrive in the next grade level if they recommend retention. And insist that the team lay out a plan for “different” learning experiences the next year in the same grade level. In other words, another year of the “same” isn’t necessarily going to promote any different performance on a test or otherwise.

        Ask them to prove to you that the damage inflicted on your child’s self-esteem and motivation as a result of retention will be positively outweighed by her academic acceleration as a result of retention.

        Good luck – and keep talking to other parents, and let me know if I can help in any way.

  4. I feel the same way Anonymous. I just relocated my daughter 1 month ago to a new school system in another city and the work is different there as well. I’m not sure if she passed the CRCT, they will let us know before school ends but, she is nervous about it. I hate how they allow one test to determine a childs future, this has seemed to damage my daughter’s self esteem. She tells me it’s hard because the work is different than she was learning in Marietta and they are testing her on curriculum what was taught to the other students before she got there.

    • Hi Concerned Parent – Thanks for your comments. Did you see my response about the requirement that the principal, teacher, and family meet before deciding to “retain” a child based on a test score? You cannot just be “notified” that your child will be retained because of the test score – your child should have supplemental instruction, additional opportunities to pass the test, and the “team” that meets to discuss retention or promotion can provide evidence that your child will thrive in the next grade level and make the decision to promote her.

      If I were you, I would emphasize that moving schools and changing lives in this way, adds a layer of anxiety and stress in a child’s life that can impact her performance on an already-high-stakes test. Ask to see “other evidence from the classroom and ongoing formative assessments” from the teacher that your child cannot thrive in the next grade level if they recommend retention. And insist that the team lay out a plan for “different” learning experiences the next year in the same grade level. In other words, another year of the “same” isn’t necessarily going to promote any different performance on a test or otherwise.

      Ask them to prove to you that the damage inflicted on your child’s self-esteem and motivation as a result of retention will be positively outweighed by her academic acceleration as a result of retention.

      Good luck – and keep talking to other parents, and let me know if I can help in any way.

  5. [...] to this, I’ve been commenting back and forth with some parent commenters – so check out this link. And get involved! Endorse the National Resolution on Testing and Google your local, state, and [...]

  6. My sons school is wanting to retain him and not continue to second grade. We had a meeting with the school and we were advised that they, the school, have the final say. We did not tell the school that we are aware of us having the final say, just to see how it played out. My son passed all three sections of the GA OAS test, so we are a bit confused. 800 is passing and they say he was too close to falling below. I’m sorry but passing is passing. Then they said that his Starr reading played as a factor. I have no idea if that is even credible enough to retain. My question….because I cannot find a simple legal document for the state of GA,, can we refuse based on the GA OAS? if so, please help me with the proper document backing my final decision. I might also add that my son has improved tremendously in the first grade and we feel he is ready to continue to second. If I felt, as the parent, that he was too far behind, I would consider repeating first grade. I felt that I have educated more than the teacher and have noted documents asking her to test him on sight words, which he is on his second grade lists, because she was not testing until I asked. I am so aggravated and I can see my son has already been bothered by the decision the school is choosing. Please HELP !!!

    • Hi there,

      I am so sorry this is happening to you. If I were you I would begin going up the ‘chain of command’ now: to the principal, to the parent engagement representative, to the superintendent. Take your son’s test scores with you and evidence that he is also reading grade level sight words. I would demand that the school give you a full written report for how retaining him will give him educational experiences that are different from this year since doing another year of the same work is not likely to benefit him. I would also ask if the district would evaluate the situation using the Light’s retention scale. This is a pretty good indicator of whether retention would make sense socially, academically, and emotionally for your child.

      If you have a trusted person who can attend all the meetings with you as an advocate and support, I recommend taking that person with you.

      If you are adamant that retention is a bad idea, stick to what you believe is right for your child.

      Good luck and let me know what you do.

  7. Im in 8th grade i failed math with a 791 and passed reading with a 820 . My report card just got back and said i been retained is ther anything i can at this point ?

    • Dear Octavio,

      Have you had a chance to re-take the test? You should be given the opportunity to receive additional teaching and support, then you should be allowed to re-take the test.

      Even if you don’t pass the test, there should be a meeting with your teacher, the principal, your parent or guardian, and you can request to be there as well. You can also request that a counselor, family engagement specialist, or someone else you trust to be in the meeting.

      The test score is only one factor in deciding whether or not to retain someone. Ask what other factors are being considered in your case and be ready to tell them all the reasons you are better off being promoted to 9th grade.

      What county are you in?

      Do you have someone who can talk to the people at school for you?

      Let me know how else I can help,
      Stephanie

      • Yes , I took my retake but i got the same scores from the first time back by mail . so im kinda confused weither ther was a mistake or i got the same exact socre from the first test .After i explained this to my mom she calmed down a bit , and decided we were going tho the school on mon . To see if ther anything we can do .

        I’m in clayton county

        ohh and im also in I,E,P

      • Hi Octavio,

        I would be surprised if you received exactly the same score twice, so you are right to ask about that. And I would be surprised if the school would retain you especially given the fact that you also have an IEP.

        Definitely go to school with your mom and request an official meeting. I like the way you are taking charge of your education, Octavio. Remember to always take charge of your learning, even when you aren’t facing a big challenge like retention. Bravo to you for doing your research and reaching out to someone to ask the right questions! No matter what the test score says, I can tell you are incredibly smart and persistent. Keep at it!

        Let me know if more questions come up for you, I will help if I can.

        All my best,
        Stephanie

  8. Thank you so much for this information. My son missed passing 8th grade math CRCT by 2 points.He is a straight A student, but not a great test taker. He is frustrated in summer school, but there is nothing I can do about it. Now he is extra nervous about the retest. Anyway, it is good to know that I am not the only parent frustrated by this.

    • No, you are definitely not the only frustrated parent out here. I personally oppose such tests because as a student I maintained a 3.5 gap or above, but I am horrible on standardized tests. Many times I had to test twice. These tests are not true measures of a child’s over all knowledge in a subject. Good luck yo your son.

  9. I’m a former APS Student and I’ve been gone from high school almost 10 years and the GHSGT test that held me from graduating with my class because of points missed. Now I have a 10 year old daughter and she attends a APS school. She’s a 5th grader and she had tutoring every other day and attended Saturday school. When she took her test she passed the reading part but not the math. It was only a short days after she failed the test for a pretest but it was given during school hours. There wasn’t going to be a summer school for her to focus one on one and I felt that it wasn’t fair how they rushed that test to hurry up and end the school year. Now I get a phone call today from the school saying that she didn’t pass. A mother like me who sends their child to school everyday to get quality education and get told its a possibly for retention is absurb. She passes all of her classes with no problems. Why can’t she move on to her proper grade? Just want to rip these test up and move on to something else.

    • Hi Ms. Davis,

      First I want to say that you, and many thousands of others, have had to pay the unfair and immoral price of a system obsessed with testing. I am sorry the system failed you, and I am sorry for the resulting difficulties I know you have dealt with over the past ten years.

      I keep waiting to see if some major Class Action lawsuit will be waged by the generation of people who have been most cheated by these unbelievably invalid and misleading ‘tests’ that determine so much about people’s lives.

      About your daughter, I would schedule an appointment with the school principal, the teacher, the counselor, and anyone else involved in making a decision about promotion and retention. Ask what other factors are supposed to be considered, including grades, academic growth, social and emotional needs, etc. in most cases I have heard that of the parent is absolutely adamant about not retaining the child, the school will make that decision too.
      I don’t know if this is the case in your school, but it seems to me that wih your daughter’s score being as close as it is, and the fact that the school did not have the instructional plan in place that was necessary after her first attempt at the test, you have a strong case to argue for promotion.

      And one final word, something I have learned as a classroom teacher, as a professor, and as a parent – institutions like schools have become places where their primary goal is to cover their own butts. Covering one’s butt almost never means thinking about the needs of individual children and families first, so you really have to be the advocate for your child in these situations…’retaining’ a child is just one way schools cover their butts against being seen as a place where kids don’t learn anything and get passed on from grade to grade. If schools can point to numbers of kids being retained, they can make the argument that they are following the rules and being rigorous in their instruction (even if the rigor is questionable). I hope that makes some sense. Good luck!

  10. Thank for this article. It was very informative. I am too a frustrated parent whose child did not pass the Reading portion of the CRCT. I’m appealing the decision and feel that my child has been failed. I have stressed all year about the lack of consistency my child was getting from school. No homework, no consistent assessments, no crct prep. But yet, she is expected to do well. My child excels at math and struggles in reading. Her teacher informed me that she failed the crct. When I asked what additional instruction she is receiving, she said there was nothing being offered. Instead she sends two pages of multiple choice questions!!! My daughter retested and made a 796. It frustrates me bc I know she worked hard. Will the fact that they didn’t offer any additional instruction serve as a good argument in the retention meeting?

  11. My Daughter failed the CRT and the retake. I was informed of her being retained on her final report card which has one A, 3 B’s and 2 C’s. I was not givent the opportunity to meet with the retenion committe or anyone for that matter, now school is out for the summer and they did not offer Summer school this year. We reside in Clayton County. Please help! She’s already 15 and has a hard time taking tests. We need advice

    • Dear Theresa,

      I would go to the school in person and request a meeting with the teachers, principal, and anyone else who is involved in their final decision-making for promotion and retention. Ask if they use the Light’s retention scale to help make these decisions, and ask what the plan is for providing a fundamentally different instructional experience for your daughter if she is retained. Another year of the same experience is not likely to improve her academic achievement, especially when she is also dealing with the stigma of having been retained.

      If this level of meeting doesn’t work to get everyone’s attention focused on your daughter’s short- and long-term needs, I would go to the central office and request a meeting with the superintendent.

      Good luck and keep me posted.

      • Hello!
        Yes, the fact that additional instruction was not offered helps your argument here. The bottom line is that we are dealing with an invalid and unethical accountability system in these tests. They are not being used appropriately, and while I disagree with everything about these tests, the only power parents and students have right now is to use any ‘inaccuracies’ around the mandated testing procedures and policies to argue against unfair – and potentially devastating – retention. If the school doesn’t follow the rules around testing (regardless of how absurd the whole testing craze is) parents and students can use those inaccuracies to build their argument.

        Good luck.

  12. My child failed reading and math of the crct test both times it was given. Her report is good the whole year with know failing grades on it. She is ADD and that plays a major role in her learning. We receive the letter that said she will be retained in the fifth grade because they got to follow state law. They gave me a meeting come to if I wanted to appeal it. I never have done this befrore. How do you appeal it? What steps do you take to appeal it. We are from Georgia.
    Thanks
    Millie

    • Hi Millie,

      Thanks for stopping by. I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through with your daughter. If she has been doing well in school this past year and showing growth in reading and math, and she has had passing grades in both subject areas, I would attend the meeting and appeal the decision to retain her.

      When you attend the meeting, bring all of her report cards and ask her teachers to bring informal assessments they have taken throughout the year to show her growth in each subject area. Ask what other factors are supposed to be considered when deciding whether to retain a student or not (the test scores are not supposed to be the only deciding factor), including grades, academic growth, social and emotional needs, her ADD diagnosis, etc. In most cases when the parent is absolutely against retaining the child, the school will make that decision too.

      If the group argues that retaining your daughter would be a positive thing, ask them to explain why, and give you a detailed plan for how her second year in fifth grade would be fundamentally different than her first year in fifth grade. And if the final decision is to promote her to sixth grade, ask that they help to lay out a plan to make sure she is receiving the instructional support she needs to be successful. The bottom line is that your daughter seems to be having difficulty taking these tests for some reason and maybe together you and the school can figure out how to give her the support she needs. Simply “retaining” her isn’t going to guarantee that anything different happens – and that’s a big argument for promotion with a plan in place.

      Good luck and keep me posted!
      stephanie

  13. Hi Stephanie I would like to know if is ok the principle said she will retaine my son in 5th grade because he is immature. you think that’s a ok reason to retaine my son I ask her to work with me and my son to do better but it seems she dont care I will put my son in a tutoring academy to see how he would do in his crct test he is also in EIP please help me my son is already sad and don’t even want to go back to school

    • Dear Aracely,
      I am so sorry it took me awhile to respond, and I hate to hear that you and your son are going through this. Of course he is sad. There is no evidence that retaining a child in an upper grade results in positive outcomes. Occasionally younger children repeating a grade – under the right conditions – can have a positive impact. Being “immature” does not qualify as a reason alone to retain anyone – I would dig deeper and ask for more specifics.

      I’m also going to re-post some advice I gave to another parent. Some of the advice might ring true for you. If you have more details you want to share I’ll try to help as best as I can.

      Here’s the other comment I sent to a different parent:

      (dear parent):
      When you attend the meeting, bring all of her report cards and ask her teachers to bring informal assessments they have taken throughout the year to show her growth in each subject area. Ask what other factors are supposed to be considered when deciding whether to retain a student or not (the test scores are not supposed to be the only deciding factor), including grades, academic growth, social and emotional needs, her ADD diagnosis, etc. In most cases when the parent is absolutely against retaining the child, the school will make that decision too.

      If the group argues that retaining your daughter would be a positive thing, ask them to explain why, and give you a detailed plan for how her second year in fifth grade would be fundamentally different than her first year in fifth grade. And if the final decision is to promote her to sixth grade, ask that they help to lay out a plan to make sure she is receiving the instructional support she needs to be successful. The bottom line is that your daughter seems to be having difficulty taking these tests for some reason and maybe together you and the school can figure out how to give her the support she needs. Simply “retaining” her isn’t going to guarantee that anything different happens – and that’s a big argument for promotion with a plan in place.

      Good luck and keep me posted!
      stephanie

      • Thank you Stephanie for responding me about my son problem I have a meeting on march 18, 2013 with his teachers and principal what do you suggested me to do about it my son self esteem is down he is only fell science on 1st term and I am paying for tutoring for the CRCT what should I do if he pass the reading and Math if she still wants to retaining my son she is giving him EIP extra help but I have the letters saying the my son is not needing the program and she still giving it to him i am very frustrated with all this.

  14. My daughter is in first grade in GA,her teacher thinks it is better for her to redo first grade. Is it only the school decision?or am i as parent can be against it?

    • Hi Suzie,
      Yes, you can be against the school retaining your daughter. I don’t know your particular situation but I am going to re-post a comment I wrote to another parent about her daughter being retained. It’s a different grade level, but some of the same advice holds: ask for their reasoning, ask for them to show evidence, ask for a guarantee that the second year in first grade will be entirely different from her first year in first grade, etc. etc. You know your child best. Most of the time retention does not have a positive outcome – occasionally it does. I can’t know that for you and your daughter, but maybe you already know.

      Here’s the other advice I offered – good luck!

      (dear parent):
      When you attend the meeting, bring all of her report cards and ask her teachers to bring informal assessments they have taken throughout the year to show her growth in each subject area. Ask what other factors are supposed to be considered when deciding whether to retain a student or not (the test scores are not supposed to be the only deciding factor), including grades, academic growth, social and emotional needs, her ADD diagnosis, etc. In most cases when the parent is absolutely against retaining the child, the school will make that decision too.

      If the group argues that retaining your daughter would be a positive thing, ask them to explain why, and give you a detailed plan for how her second year in fifth grade would be fundamentally different than her first year in fifth grade. And if the final decision is to promote her to sixth grade, ask that they help to lay out a plan to make sure she is receiving the instructional support she needs to be successful. The bottom line is that your daughter seems to be having difficulty taking these tests for some reason and maybe together you and the school can figure out how to give her the support she needs. Simply “retaining” her isn’t going to guarantee that anything different happens – and that’s a big argument for promotion with a plan in place.

      Good luck and keep me posted!
      stephanie

  15. Well its that time of year again… crcts start tomorrow… and guess what… my kids are freaked out. Especially my 5th grade son. Overall his yearly grade is an 85/86. He’s literally scared to death. I’ve watchedthis before with my kids and their teachers and its sad! Plus the scandals with cheating proves it was not a well thought out idea. My sons reading and math are below level but he’s. Worked all year to maintain B grades. I don’t care what they say, he deserves to be passed even if he fails those sections…

    • Hi Mira,
      I’m so sorry your son is going through this, just keep encouraging him, tell him to do his best, and remind him that no “number” defines who he is or what he is capable of doing. If you are interested, there is a growing “opt-out” movement, and though I haven’t heard from anyone in Georgia opting out of high-stakes tests this year, I bet there are some folks doing it. Take at look at the website: http://unitedoptout.com/

  16. If u pass your crct do you have to pass all your classes In the 8th grade

    • Hello Reader,

      I can’t tell if you are a student or a parent, but I am going to assume you are a student yourself and looking for help. If you are a parent, I would give the same advice.

      Whether or not you can pass based on the CRCT depends on your school since it is not a requirement by the state to automatically pass a student to the next grade if she or he passed the state test. But it does seem unfair to me that the CRCT can be used to hold someone back but not to push someone forward when they pass.

      If you passed the CRCT and believe you should be passed to the next grade, I would prepare a strong argument for passing, bring in examples of strong work you have done, and reasons for any weaknesses you had during the year. If you have any adults in the school (and/or in your family) who can go with you to talk to the principal, invite them to go with you and practice your argument with them before you go.

      Good luck,
      Stephanie

  17. Hi Stephanie!
    Thank you for your articles on child retention. My son is in the 8th grade. We just moved to Georgia from Michigan. We have been here about 1 yr. This is his first year with his home school program. He had to take a writing test on January 23, 2013. We had no idea what to expect. This was not done in Michigan. He does not take test well, anyway! He had to score at least 200 or he would have to repeat the 8th grade. His score was 187. He missed it by 13 points. I have never heard of such a thing! He also had to take the CRCT test in April. We were told that if he did not pass his Math and Reading that he would not be promoted to the 9th grade. He passed his Reading but did not pass his Math. He had to have a score of 800-950. He got 752 on Math CRCT. Then he was allowed to take a retake on May 31, 2013. He still did not pass and got a score of 759. I have an appeal set up because I believe that with us moving from one state to another and him trying to readjust to a new life and environment, that may have contributed to low score. He works very hard on his school work and I just don’t believe he should be retained. I think that if he works hard over the summer and by having his first year under his belt, he will do better.

    I think it is unfair that the School puts this kind of pressure on our children. These CRCT scores do not show how hard our children work and how intelligent they are. I have an appeal set up to fight their decision for retention. Any advice you can give will be helpful!

    Thanks!

    • Hello there and thanks for stopping by.

      It sounds like you are doing what you should, so that’s great. Of course your child is adjusting to a new environment! In addition to arguing that he just moved here and needs some time to adjust to the way school is done here (and feel comfortable with the folks at school), I would take in some of his work he has completed and past report cards if he has done well. This doesn’t sound like a case where retention would be beneficial, though retention is almost never beneficial when kids get into middle and high school, so keep fighting for your son and his right to go to high school next year.

      If you have a trusted advocate in the school, invite him or her to the meeting. If not, try to bring someone who can be with you in the appeal meeting. Sometimes these things get going and you feel as though things are running in the wrong direction and you don’t know how to stop it. If there are at least two of you who have talked ahead of time about specific things to say, it will be more likely that those things will be said. For example, “My son is not being retained. I understand the requirements you are facing, but I am required to be his advocate and he is a good student who would be devastated by retention.” And “Show us the research that proves retention in middle school is beneficial. I understand that retention increases the likelihood of a student not finishing high school and I am not letting you do something damaging to my child.” These are two examples and you can practice others – you know the context and what they might say or do.

      It sounds funny to say “practice saying this” but I have been in too many meetings where the school is in power and the administrators or teachers begin rattling off all the things they need to say, leaving parents dumbfounded and unable to say anything in return. Practice things you will say to change the conversation, write down your points so you can refer to them, and have some evidence that your kid is working hard.

      Good luck and welcome to Georgia (and sorry this is your introduction to Georgia schools).

      Stephanie

      • Hi Stephanie, I just want to let you know the over all the stress my son and I had for over 2 month in School . They wanted to retained my son on 5th grade with out having the CRCT score , his teachers and principal thought he was not going to be able to pass CRCT. I asked what were the requirements for a fifth grader to move on to the next level, they didn’t gave me any answer, so what I did was I set up a meeting withe the superintendent. I went with my husband to the meeting, she answer our questions and after the meeting I got more relax. All he need it is to pass his classes and CRCT. I am very proud of my son because he proof everyone he can do it. His teachers and principal were surprise about. So all the fight I did was wort it because if I wouldn’t done anything they were going to retain my son no matter what even if he was going to pass the CRCT, I said this because when I had the meeting with the principal and teacher that’s was their answer so I did what I need it to do. Is to fight for my son Darwin. My advise to every parents is fight for your kids, we know them better than anyone else. Good luck to everyone.

      • Wow, this is terrific news!!! You are right, no one will fight for our own child the way we can, and you did it! This should offer great hope out there to parents facing the same kind of stress.

        Thank you – you are my hero:-)

  18. I have the opposite problem. My son passes the CRCT every time he takes it with flying colors. He scores into the exceeds range. However, he has failed all of his classes. He has not maintained the required average to stay in his advanced courses but the school does not remove him from the advanced courses and we are trying to get him held back in middle school but they will not hear of it simply because of his CRCT scores. He is emotionally immature and not ready for high school and he absolutely does not care about consequences because we (the parents) tell him if he doesn’t do the work he will fail. Well, the school let’s him keep his F averages and doesn’t fail him. So we have no credability and he thinks the school system is a joke. He has it figured out. What am I to do now? He will fail 9th grade if they pass him and in a year when he’s 16, he will quit. He doesn’t take us seriously and he sure doesn’t take the school system seriously.

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