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Posted By: James Bruggeman on March 6, 2002
Thanks Dr. Gelberg, for your thoughtful reply. I will still stand by my original position which is based on four arguments: (1) the difficulties of predicting the success of retention decisions; (2) the impact on student self-esteem of retention, whether successful or unsuccessful by adult standards; (3) the extent to which "immaturity" often arises from linquistic, social, emotional factors and disabilities that function independently of chronological age; and, (4) the absolute requirement that schools, particularly elementary schools, differentiate their instruction, flex their grade organizations, and redesign their curriculum to meet the incredible diversity among school-age students. Unfortunately, high stakes testing in some states reinforce rigid grade-level expectations.

We think that a "multi-age philosophy"- one in which student progress is viewed along a continuum of skills that transcends traditional grade-level demarcations - allows us to resolve many of the issues arising from perceptions that students are "too young" for the grade. And this philosophy can be practiced whether one is in a multi-age classroom or a single-grade classroom. At least this is what we, at this school, are aiming.

I will look into the Rochester study. Do you have a citation?

Good conversation.

Jim Bruggeman
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 People who were held back/"failed" a grade who later went on to pursue careers in education by Jill Johnson on February 23, 2002
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