Monday, November 26, 2007

Redshirting: Article V

This is from the Early Childhood Network of the Iowa Department of Education:

Retention, tracking, and extra year or transition programs are often used out of genuine concern for children who are perceived as needing more time to be "ready." Parents and educators mistakenly believe that placing children in ability groups or in a classroom with younger peers will improve their chances for success. These concerns are grounded on a definition of readiness that is not consistent with either the current knowledge about children's growth and development or with the goals and philosophy of the primary program.

Research findings on retention indicate that its effects are cause for great concern. Teachers, parents, and peers are likely to view a retained child less positively. Retained children perform more poorly in future academic work and are much more likely to drop out of school altogether (Holmes, 1989; Kreitzer, Madaus, & Haney, 1989; Mann, 1986). Further, research on kindergarten retention notes that it does not improve achievement, is not different from retention in later grades in its consequences, and has harmful effects on socio-emotional outcomes and on the development of self-concept (Shepard & Smith, 1989).

Tracking, often used to "equalize" opportunities for diverse groups, in fact, achieves the opposite. Students in low tracks are likely to experience negative effects personally and socially. Children in fixed ability groups are typically not treated equally by the teacher and miss out on the benefits of mixed ability groups. Tracking also tends to separate students along socio-economic lines (Slavin, 1987). Strategies such as cooperative learning and flexible grouping minimize the need for tracking. In the primary program, teachers adopt a model of teaching and learning that helps them cope with diverse groups of students.


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