Deciding if your Child should Repeat a Grade Level in School

Should a child repeat a grade level in school? Should your child repeat? Who decides and what criteria should be used to decide if your child should repeat a grade?

There are several things to consider in deciding if a child should repeat a grade. Uppermost, however, is the impact it will make on the child emotionally and academically. The impact should be considered over the long-term, not just for the here and now.

If a child will feel less adapt either now or in the future if they repeat a grade, then repeating is not a good idea. The possible academic benefit will be outweighed by the emotional stress. Often, a child who has repeated a grade, and especially one who had repeated more than one grade, will not finish school. When it becomes evident that they are older than other classmates, and as soon as they can, they may drop out of school. Additionally, a child who has repeated a grade may feel like they are not academically as good as their classmates and will stop trying as hard and will indeed fall behind.

As a teacher of children with special needs, I have often seen children who have repeated a grade just give up, resulting in their falling further and further behind. Academic benefit is also suspect, according to some studies. It has been shown that repeating a grade doesn’t improve academic performance, but rather lessens it.

Differing circumstances determine who should make the decision of whether or not your child should repeat a grade. If you personally feel your child is immature and would benefit from repeating, you, as the parent, have the right to ask for it. Of course, as a parent, you should be ready to listen to your child’s teacher’s input. It is true parents know their children better than others, but the teacher works with your child for approximately eight hours a day, so has a good clue to their school performance, maybe more so than you as the parent. If your child is unable to do the work, or hasn’t applied themselves to academics, then the teacher may make the suggestion to repeat. Again, you as the parent have the right to input, and even to appeal any decision that is made with which you don’t agree. Basically, any decision about repeating a grade should be mutually made by all who have interest in the child’s academic welfare.

Some things to consider when making the decision involve both academic and emotional factors. Questions to consider: Will repeating help the child achieve better next time around? Have they missed important skills that they need to go back and acquire? Was the failure due to excessive illness or overwhelming live issues that have been since resolved? Will repeating lead to excessive emotional anguish? Is your child more immature than classmates and maybe could benefit from repeating? Will repeating help your child become more academically successful?

Considering all the above factors, consulting with your child’s teacher, and even possibly consulting with your child, will help you as a parent make a more informed, appropriate decision as to whether your child should repeat a grade or not.