Local school boards are responsible for a PROMOTION, PLACEMENT, AND RETENTION policy in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 20-2-282 through 20-2-285. On Monday the DeKalb Board of Education will be discussing and voting on a new DeKalb Promotion and Retention Policy.
Let me know your thoughts on this proposed policy:
REQUIREMENTS FOR GRADES 1-8
(a) Each school principal shall distribute student data from the Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade Assessments to teachers prior to the beginning of each school year. Each teacher shall use data to focus instruction on identified student academic performance in grades 1-8.
(b) Each school principal or designee shall establish a student support team for each student in grades 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7 who does not achieve grade level on reading and/or mathematics sections of the criterion-referenced assessments. The student support team shall:
1. Determine whether each student shall be retained or promoted based on a review of the overall academic achievement of the student as well as the student’s Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade performance where applicable;
2. Develop an accelerated, differentiated, or additional instruction plan for each student who does not achieve grade level on the reading and/or mathematics sections as reported by the Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade Assessments; and
3. Develop a plan of continuous assessment during the subsequent school year in order to monitor the progress of the student.
(c) Students shall be tested in accordance with requirements specified in State Board Rule 160-3-1-.07 Testing Programs – Student Assessment.
(d) The school principal or designee shall annually notify parents or guardians that placement or promotion of a student into a grade, class, or program will be based on the academic achievement of the student on criterion-referenced assessments and other criteria established in this policy.
PROMOTION REQUIREMENTS FOR GRADES 9 – 12
Students who enter the ninth grade in 2005-06 and beyond are required to complete three hundred sixty hours (24 units) in order to meet the requirements for graduation. The requirements for promotion are as follows:
a.) to the tenth grade, 90 hours (6 units), three (3) of which must be core courses and three (3) elective courses*;
b.) to the eleventh grade, 180 hours (12 units), six (6) of which must be core courses and six (6) elective courses*;
c.) to the twelfth grade, 270 hours (18 units), nine (9) core courses and nine (9) elective courses*.
*Core Courses: English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, World
GRADES 3, 5, AND 8
Promotion for students in grades 3, 5, AND 8 come down from the state legislature and are reiterated in state board rules.
1. No third grade student shall be promoted to the fourth grade if the student does not receive a grade level reading determination of “On/Above Grade Level” on the Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade Assessments and meet promotion standards and criteria established in this policy for the school that the student attends.
2. No fifth grade student shall be promoted to the sixth grade if the student does not receive a grade level reading determination of “On/Above Grade Level” on the Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade Assessment and attain an achievement level of “Developing Learner”, “Proficient Learner”, or “Distinguished Learner” on the mathematics section of the Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade Assessment and meet promotion standards and criteria established in this policy for the school that the student attends.
3. No eighth grade student shall be promoted to the ninth grade if the student does not receive a grade level reading determination of “On/Above Grade Level” on the Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade Assessment and attain an achievement level of “Developing Learner”, “Proficient Learner”, or “Distinguished Learner” on the mathematics section of the Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade Assessment and meet promotion standards and criteria established in this policy for the school that the student attends.
When a student does not perform at grade level in grades 3, 5, or 8 on
the Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade Assessments read the DeKalb Policy or State Board Rules to see the next steps.
- Current Policy Promotion and Retention
- RED LINED Policy Promotion and Retention Code:IHE
- Proposed Policy Promotion and Retention Policy IHE
- Proposed Requlation Promotion and Retention Policy: IHE-R
We absolutely need a plan in place to accelerate, differentiate and ensure all students are showing mastery before being promoted to the next grade level. However, the plan listed assumes that Georgia Milestones End of Data Assessment results are available in grades 1-8. In reality, we only have that data to drive instruction in grades 4-8 each year. (K-2 do not take Milestones and 3rd grade data will be sent to 4th grade teachers in the beginning of the school year to plan instruction).
We need to examine common criteria for supporting teachers/students in promotion/retention when we do not have Milestones data.
Plans are essential but need to be realistic. With class sizes increasing yearly, it seems impossible to put these expectations on teachers and administration without additional support. When the concentration is put only on those who are academically struggling, the average student is ignored because their scores are neither too low nor extremely high to be placed in a category of need. What is being done for those in the middle?
Allegra, There is a big push for differentiated instruction. What would you like to see for those in the middle? What changes to the policy would you like to see?
The new policy is cleaner, as it leaves out the val/sal stuff and grading policy stuff that are in other dcsd policies. It also states a clear high school policy rather than special rules for block/non-block.
The placement committee’s ability to promote is unchanged, and the words about supports and follow-up for the next year are good. My concern is what mechanism is in place to make sure that the supports and monitoring that a placement committee defines for a student who is promoted to another school are actually transmitted and implemented by the new school. That placement committee would have to have a very good idea of what is feasible at the new school, or it could define things that aren’t feasible.
I don’t find this to be terribly clear. it’s all based on how they perform on the milestones (which we know to be riddled with grammatical and other errors) and their performance the other 9 months has absolutely no bearing? What about kids who just do not perform well on standardized tests? Who have IEPs and such? What about opting out – if you opt out how is promotion determined?
It says the scores will be given to teachers at the start of the next school year, then goes on to say decisions will be made on promotion – it sounds as if the next level teachers make that decision and so will kids not know if promoted until August? That seems like a recipe for an angst filled summer.
I think it is ridiculous to warrant promotion based on one test that already has an abysmal record for errors and turn around time. I would like to see Milestones go away. Let teachers do their job. Let students learn and absorb the info when they are ready. You can’t expect them all to be at the same testing level, on the same day, even within the same grade. Some kids don’t test well in general. How can this test be used for graduation when the results aren’t back until after school is out?
Glad to see the the feedback and discussion here. I just want to suggest that it is sad that this type of discussion isn’t being organized by the district itself. Internal and external stakeholders should be solicited for guidance and feedback. I am thankful that Stan is dedicated to transparency and seeking input from the public and teaching community. But one Board member’s Facebook page and blog is not a substitute for the district doing their job.
We do an injustice to the receiving teachers when we send them students who have not completed the coursework necessary to learn the standards. If all parties (parents, children, and teachers) commit to work together and are held accountable, our students will succeed.
Bottom line…teachers need to be in the conversation as professionals who really do know about what goes on in classrooms. The job of the board should be to support not dictate. Take a look at the top education systems in the world. They aren’t necessarily three ones that spend the most but they do invest in quality teachers. Im not saying that retention is always best, but don’t keep dumbing down the curriculum and making excuses. Expect that student to have a proficiency in EVERY grade level before sending them on.
The district needs to be specific about the requirements for promotion and retention. Check out a sample from Gwinnett, that includes the milestone, grades and classroom assessments, which gives a better picture of learning than a one shot test. I included their policy in milestone tested grade level , and in a non-tested grade level.
3 grade to 4th grade
To earn promotion to the 4th grade, students must demonstrate proficiency of the current grade-level Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS). Readiness for the 4th grade will be determined by the child’s classroom grades, assessments, and/or input from the school’s Student Support Team (SST).
The state’s 3rd grade students also are required to achieve grade-level expectations on the Georgia Milestones End of Grade (EOG) Assessment in English Language Arts/Reading. Students who do not achieve grade-level expectations in this tested content area will be required to retest after summer school.
4th grade to 5th grade
To earn promotion to the 5th grade, students are required to achieve grade-level proficiency on the Georgia Milestones End of Grade (EOG) Assessment in Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. (The EOG is a Gateway test for promotion in Gwinnett).
Students who do not achieve grade-level expectations on each content-area assessment will be promoted if they have no grades lower than a C in that content area. A student who does not achieve grade-level expectations in a subject and who has a grade lower than a C in the tested area will have the opportunity to attend summer school for targeted instruction. After summer school, student progress will be evaluated to determine whether the student will be promoted to 5th grade. A student who does not attend summer school or does not meet all promotion requirements after summer school will receive extra support the next year through the transition program.
Students need to be on grade level before they get to milestone tested grade-levels. The district also needs to provide equitable support for high poverty , low achieving schools. Such as additional EIP teachers in elementary schools, Ttitle I math and reading teachers in middle and high schools. The district also needs to hold principals and teachers accountable for achievement, and stop leaving principals and teachers in schools for years that historically have low scores and show minimal or no growth. If a principal and a group of teachers have been in a school for 5-7 years or more and the school is not making progress , then changes should be made.
I’d want to know what the implementation of such instruction plans look like. These support teams and instruction plans sound great on paper, but how do they work? It would seem you would need answers to the following questions:
1. How many such plans could a teacher/teachers be implementing in one semester? 50? 100? The most recent test scores on the school district’s website are from 2014 when 35% of 8th graders achieved a level 1, or not meeting proficiency. The language of this policy suggests that all students would have a plan, so what are the actual numbers of plans teachers would be implementing?
2. How do teachers implement the identified number of plans at the same time? What support are teachers given for the implementation of these plans? Again, what does this look like in real school time?
3. Who else is on the support team, and what will they be doing specifically?
4. Can maximum class sizes be used with such a policy? What type of analysis has the school district conducted to ensure this is possible?
If possible, a child who is academically struggling with reading but accelerates in math should have the opportunity to be with those children who also accelerate in math. I have noticed that a child who is not labeled as”gifted” isn’t given the personal attention they need because it is all or nothing. I started with “if possible” because putting a child in front of a computer and say teach yourself is not motivational. Couldn’t that student be moved to another classroom for that instructional period. I also believe that school houses need to be treated individually. They each have a different student makeup, what works in one school should not be dismissed if not successful in all schools. Schools should be deemed successful based on the achievements within their walls BUT should also be given resources (people) that meet the specific need within their walls.
DeKalb Observer, Gwinnett’s policy talks about numerous specific requirements and then bails on those requirements at the end saying, “A student who does not attend summer school or does not meet all promotion requirements after summer school will receive extra support the next year through the transition program.” So the way I read it, effectively everyone in elementary gets promoted and they deal with it the next year in the next grade.