New York City schools are holding back many more third through eighth graders this year, reports the New York Times. Eight percent of eighth graders failed to move on to high school.
Last year, less than 1 percent of the city’s third to eighth graders were held back. That increased nearly fivefold this year because the state raised the bar on its exams and the city toughened its promotion policy.
Because of budget cuts, no additional money will be devoted to the 11,321 students who failed this year, the city said. Instead, the city will let teachers devote about 37 minutes each week that was intended for tutoring struggling students to developing team-based strategies for how to address the failures. One intervention specialist for every 60 schools, on average, will work with principals to develop these plans.
Student who received a 1, the lowest score, on the state math or English test must be retained, unless the student passes a similar test after summer school. After six weeks of a half-day summer school, only 50 percent of students passed the test, compared with 82 percent last year.
Summer school attendance averaged less than 75 percent for third through eighth graders and 55 percent for high school students, who face a different retention policy.
Holding student back doesn’t help much. Neither does passing them on.