Promotion, Retention, and Acceleration of Students
NEPN/NSBA Code: IKE
It is the Yarmouth School Committee’s intent to provide sequential instructional programming that provides equitable opportunity for students to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable them to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results at each grade level. The School Committee recognizes that at every grade level, there are differences among students in their intellectual, physical, social, and emotional development and that individual students may be more proficient in some content areas of the Learning Results than in others. All reasonable efforts shall be made to identify learning difficulties at the earliest grade possible and apply intervention in accordance with the pre-referral policy and Response to Intervention (RTI) procedures. Likewise, the gifted-talented programming shall endeavor to ensure that the needs of students who have been identified as gifted and talented have been met through specially designed programming instruction and/or consultation.
A. Retention of Students in Kindergarten through Grade 8
The National Association of School Psychologists reports that “the majority of studies conducted over the past four decades on the effectiveness of grade retention fail to support its efficacy in remediating academic deficits” and “urges educators to use methods other than grade retention… to ensure that all students have access to effective and equitable education.”1 The National Association for the Education of Young Children contends that “not only is there a preponderance of evidence that there is no academic benefit from retention in its many forms, but there also appear to be threats to the social-emotional development of the child subjected to such practices.” 2 It is the philosophy of the Yarmouth School Committee that retention for students in grades K-8 is a last resort process that will be utilized when other considerations/ intentions have proved unsuccessful. Decisions concerning retention of a student shall be consistent with the best educational interest of that student.
The Superintendent or his/her designee shall create a process for retention that includes parental communication and involvement. Parents should be notified as early as possible in the event that retention is being considered by the school for their child. Parents will be informed of the results of intervention efforts as well as other remediation options available to students such as tutoring, after-school programs, and summer school. Decisions concerning retention shall be made through a conference involving the school-based team and the parents. Parental input, testing results and other data available will be considered. Decisions concerning retention for students with Individual Education Plans (IEP) will be made through the IEP team process.
The school Principal shall be responsible for making the decision regarding retention. A parent who is dissatisfied with the Principal’s decision may appeal to the Superintendent. The Superintendent’s decision shall be final.
B. Grade-based Acceleration of Students in Kindergarten through Grade 8
The needs of students who meet grade level expectations at a faster rate than their peers may be met through a variety of means including enrichment activities, extra-curricular activities, curriculum compacting, differentiated assignments and independent study projects. Acceleration to a higher grade level may be appropriate when other options fail to meet the needs of highly able students. Such practices are supported by research and by national organizations including the Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration (IRPA), the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC and the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted (CSDPG)3. Acceleration is not appropriate for students who are strong in a given area but may not have been exposed to new content and skills. Decisions regarding acceleration shall be made by the Principal, in consultation with the Director of Instructional Support and the school-based team. A parent who is dissatisfied with the Principal’s decision may appeal to the Superintendent. The Superintendent’s decision shall be final.
C. High School Grade Level Assignment
Successful completion of the requirements specified in the School Committee’s policy IKF (Graduation Requirements) be required for a high school diploma.
In order to graduate high school, students shall meet proficiency standards and earn credit for each required course.
For students who transfer into the school system from another state or educational program not required to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results, the Principal will determine the value of the student’s prior educational experience for the purpose of grade placement or the fulfillment of credits.
Legal Reference: Ch. 127 (Me. Dept. of Ed. Rule)
Cross Reference: IKF – Graduation Requirements
1National Association of School Psychologists. (2011). Grade retention and social promotion (Position Statement). Bethesda, MD: Author.
2National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2001, March). Still unacceptable trends in kindergarten entry and placement (Position Statement). Washington, DC: Author.
3Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration (IRPA), National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted (CSDPG). (2009, November). Guidelines for developing an academic acceleration policy. Author.
Adopted: Prior to 1982
Revised: June 8, 1992, October 13, 2011, May 14, 2015, February 7, 2019