Grading without passing debated by teachers' federation
Social promotion or placing of students gets mixed reviews from parents
The P.E.I. Teachers' Federation will debate this week the practice of moving students on to the next grade even if requirements have not been met, as parents in the province give the practice mixed reviews.
The practice is known as placing or social promotion. Michelle Johnston of Murray River, in eastern P.E.I., told CBC News placing worked for her daughter. Johnston wanted her daughter to repeat Grade 1 because of her struggles with very simple math.
But the school system told her it doesn't hold students back anymore.
"I was kind of skeptical at first. I really thought if she's having issues now, keep her back while she's young and let her go ahead when she's caught up," said Johnston.
"But, as time went on, I've gotten to see how keeping her ahead has helped her quite a bit."
Johnston's daughter started a special hour-a week, one-on-one math class with a handful of other struggling elementary school students. Her daughter is now in Grade 5 and her math skills have improved. Johnston hopes she'll be fully caught up by junior high.
She now believes her daughter would have been bored repeating Grade 1, because her reading and writing skills were very good.
Dropping out in high school
Brandi Toupin of Summerside did not have a good experience with placing. Her son was placed all the way from Grade 2 to Grade 10.
I think they failed him- Brandi Toupin
"The first grade I just thought it was just kind of normal. I thought he'd pick up his pace," said Toupin.
"After the second and third time I started asking them to hold him back because he was not at grade level by any means."
Toupin said testing in Grade 7 showed her son was only at a Grade 4 level. In Grade 10, feeling frustrated and dumb, she said he started acting out, skipping school, and eventually dropping out.
"I think they failed him," she said.
Toupin worries without a high school diploma her son, who's 21 now, will be stuck with seasonal work and employment insurance for the rest of his life.
The subject of placing is one of the topics to be discussed at workshops at P.E.I. Teachers' Federation meetings Wednesday and Thursday.