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Retention is NOT an Intervention: Strategies for Student Success.

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Presentation on theme: "Retention is NOT an Intervention: Strategies for Student Success."— Presentation transcript:

1 Retention is NOT an Intervention: Strategies for Student Success

2 Is Retention the Solution? Purpose: –To increase awareness of the high retention rates of students in grades K-4 in Louisiana Outcome: –75% of students in Louisiana arrive in 4 th grade on time by 2014

3 Literacy Goals Students enter kindergarten ready to learn Students are literate by the third grade Students will enter fourth grade on time Students perform at or above grade level in English Language Arts by eighth grade Achieve all critical goals, regardless of race or class

4 Measure: Percentage of students earning consecutive promotion from kindergarten through fourth grade Current Status (Fall 2010): 72.3 percent of students arrive in fourth grade on time Ultimate Goal: 90 percent of students arrive in fourth grade on time Immediate Goal: 75 percent of students arrive in fourth grade on time by 2014 Students Will Enter Fourth Grade On Time

5 Promotion Similar to calculating the Graduation Rate  Look at a cohort of kindergarten students  Same students entered “K” at the same time  How many of the “K” students made it to 4 th grade on time?

6 Goal: Kindergarteners arrive in 4 th on-time Measure: Student promotion Ultimate Goal 90% arrive on-time Immediate Goal 75% arrive on-time by 2014

7 12,763 Students did not make it to 4 th grade on time in Of those:  5,068 retained in Kindergarten  4,612 retained in First Grade  1,950 retained in Second Grade  1,133 retain in Third Grade

8 Retention in Louisiana In Louisiana, 12,763 or 28% of students fail to make it to 4 th grade on age-grade level based on 2010 data  We retain students despite overwhelming research and practical evidence that retention fails to lead to improved student outcomes

9 Louisiana’s Retention Challenge These students are not subject to state-mandated retention requirements  High-stakes LEAP testing begins at end of 4 th grade  Pupil Progression before LEAP governed solely by local district policy (BESE Bulletin 1566, §503 )

10 Reasons For Retention Academic Failure Lack of Basic Skills Excessive Absences Emotional Immaturity Parental Request

11 Louisiana’s Retention Challenge In Louisiana, approximately 1 of every 3 public school students (28%) is retained prior to 4 th grade Nationally, about 10% of public school students (and 23% of students in poverty) are retained at ANY grade level

12 Louisiana’s Over Age Student Challenge A Louisiana student who enters HS… … graduates from HS On age-grade level (14 years old) 84% of the time Retained once (15 years old) 66% of the time Retained twice (16 years old) 25% of the time Retained more than twice (17+) 6% of the time 1 in 3 students enter 4 th grade over age in Louisiana 1 in 3 students enter HS over age in Louisiana 1 in 3 students fail to earn a HS diploma in Louisiana

13 The “Downstream” Challenge School YearK-4 “On Time” Promotion Rate HS Graduation Rate %67.4% %66.6% %65.9% National studies have consistently identified grade retention as a leading indicator of HS dropout rates. Louisiana data demonstrates the same strong correlation (see above chart). We can accurately predict the graduation outcomes of 80% of the state’s freshman based ONLY on their age & previous school attendance. Grade retention increases a student’s risk of dropping out between 20% and 50%.

14 Louisiana K-4 On-Time Promotion Rates and Cohort Graduation Rate

15 We cannot solve the dropout crisis without addressing the retention problem!

16 The Bottom Line “…retention, whether it is called by a special name (transition), occurs for a special reason (immaturity), or takes place in kindergarten rather than later, is still retention and still ineffective.” (quoted from Shepherd, 1989) Those who continue to retain pupils at grade levels do so despite cumulative evidence showing the potential for negative effects consistently outweighs positive outcomes….(quoted from Holmes & Matthews, 1984)

17 What Can We Do? Policy Options  Limit the number of times an elementary student can be retained; allow retention only on the basis of academic performance/attendance  Require multiple documented interventions prior to permitting retention  Require teachers/SBLCs to develop individual intervention plans for all retained students and those at risk of retention  Monitor retention rates by school and grade level, and intervene based on data

18 What Can We Do? Other Options  Embed information about research on retention into school-level professional development and information for parents  Provide principals & teachers with guides for early interventions for students at-risk to prevent retention

19 Alternatives to Retention Response to Intervention (RTI) (http://www.louisianaschools.net/lde/uploads/16839.pdf)http://www.louisianaschools.net/lde/uploads/16839.pdf Early Intervention Extended Instructional Time Effective programs that frequently assess student progress and adapt instructional strategies based on results of these assessments

20 Alternatives to Retention Reading and math programs that provide developmentally appropriate, intensive, and direct instruction strategies to promote the reading and math skills of students at risk of being retained School-based mental health programs thatpromote the social and emotional adjustment of children.  For example, addressing behavior problems has been found to be effective in facilitating academic performance (Zins, Weissberg, Wang, & Walberg, 2004)

21 Solutions to Consider from Principals Ensure early success in K and 1 with targeted early intervention Collaboration with Head Start Programs and Daycare Centers Transitional classes with students completing one and a half grades in one year Literacy and Numeracy Instruction most of the school day with science, social studies, health, etc. embedded Specific training for PreK and K interventions (Ex. Speech and Language Pathologist Pilot)

22 Solutions to Consider from Principals More side by side coaching Prior to school classes in the summer for students being considered for retention (use data such as DIBELS for determination) After school interventions for students that require strategic and intensive support Parent seminars to support student learning Much, much more!

23 National Association of School Psychologists NASP recommends “promotion plus specific interventions designed to address the factors that place students at risk for school failure”  Full list available at

24 Jumpstart Summer Camp Use data to select those students who are candidates for retention Select your “BEST” reading/math teacher – possibly a coach or interventionist 8 to 10 students per teacher Have parents sign assurances for attendance to miss no more than 1 day if child is to be promoted Bring selected students in for a 4 week “Jumpstart Summer Camp” just prior to school starting

25 Jumpstart Summer Camp Target the reading and math skills that are areas of weakness for the individual students for direct systematic teaching Provide extensive time on task for reading – partner reading, paired reading, reading to other adults, books/tapes Depending on age of the students, have them read two or more books for pleasure on their independent reading level at home each night – use a reading log for the parent to sign – this involves parent and child Continuously progress monitor and adapt instruction to achieve student success and prevent retention

26 How Do I Fund? MUST Braid Funds Title I, IDEA, REAP, ELL, Homeless, SIG, local funds, etc. Major Costs – Teacher and Transportation Major Payoff – Fewer Retentions and more High School Graduates

27 Retention How many students did you hold back in K, 1, 2, and 3?  What are your district/school numbers?  Retention.aspx?RecordID=000  What is the most common reason for retention in your school or district?  What can be done to prevent retention?

28 Success has a price tag on it, and the tag reads “Courage, Determination, Discipline, Risk Taking, Perseverance, and Consistency”---doing the right things for the right reasons and not just when we feel like it. - James Meston, Author

29 Kerry Laster, Ph.D. Chief of Literacy Literacy Goal Office Louisiana Department of Education Phone:


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