social promotion

held back

Making the grade

numbers games

New York

Four Years To Reverse A Bad Decision?

New York

Cerf attacks Thompson for opposing mayor's promotion policies

New York

Social promotion's effect in New York City still largely unknown

Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to expand a social promotion ban will likely be the first item on the school board's agenda when they reconvene. But board members will have to vote on the proposal before the results of the only research on the effects of holding back failing students in the city have been released. The results of a study that the city commissioned from the research institute the RAND Corporation in 2004 are scheduled to be released this fall, according to Department of Education spokesman Andy Jacob. But that will almost certainly come after the Panel for Educational Policy votes on the proposed expansion of Bloomberg's new promotional standards to include fourth and sixth graders. (The Panel for Educational Policy was dissolved after mayoral control expired June 30 but will reconvene now that the Senate has re-authorized the law.) Less than two percent of third, fifth and seventh graders were held back last year under Mayor Bloomberg's tougher promotion standards. Data provided by the New York City Department of Education. Preliminary results of the RAND study, which looks at the performance of third and fifth graders affected by the Mayor's promotion policy over time and will include data from the 2008-2009 school year, were delivered to the Department of Education last year, Jacob said. The study was designed to follow students for five years, Jacob said, and so final results of the study will not be available until the research is completed. The RAND Corporation did release a working paper in 2006 that surveyed promotion and retention policies around the United States and placed New York City's practices in context. Even without research findings on the end of social promotion in New York City, Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein insist that holding back failing schoolchildren benefits them unquestionably.
New York

Bloomberg announces an end to social promotion in grades 4, 6

Mayor Bloomberg called for an end to social promotion for the city's fourth and sixth graders this morning, a change that would expand one of the most hotly debated education policies of his tenure. At a press conference this morning, the mayor and Chancellor Joel Klein called their efforts to end social promotion "a great success," citing rising test scores and the decreasing number of students enrolled in summer school. Ending social promotion means that students who do not meet proficiency standards on state tests are held back until they do. Some of these students attend summer school and are bumped to the next grade in the fall when they pass the exam, while others can have waivers signed that let them out of retention program. Bloomberg said that once the citywide school board is reconstituted, he would ask it to end the policy in grades four and six — the only remaining tested grades in which social promotion is still in practice. In 2004, when several board members told the mayor that they would vote against ending third grade social promotion, he had them removed and replaced overnight with people who supported his policies. The event is commonly known as the "Monday Night Massacre." Standing in the library of the Patrick Henry School (P.S. 171) in East Harlem, Bloomberg said that with the new retention policy, "kids will either learn what they need or teachers will know they haven't learned." Asked about researchers' claims that retention policies can raise the dropout rate, Bloomberg said he was "speechless," adding, "It's pretty hard to argue that it does not work." Klein said that since 2004, when the DOE ended social promotion for third graders, support for its end has been "unanimous." There is significant opposition to the administration's retention policies, said Norm Fruchter, director of the community involvement program of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform.