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Promotion, Retention and Acceleration

Geraldine McDonald

This item is about a major unfairness in the New Zealand school system. This unfairness persists year after year. It is built into the way in which young children are promoted out of the junior school. It is the fact that so many are held back or 'retained'. This practice continues to do damage to individual children, and to disadvantage Maori children and boys. Why have we heard so little about it?

  •  We have been unaware of it.
  • Decisions are made about promotion or retention with the best of intentions and with what teachers sincerely believe to be the best interests of the child.
  • Research about the consequences of retention has not reached teachers.
  • The practice of retaining children in the junior classes is held in place by custom, belief, and demographic influences.
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