EdMedia Commons Archive

Social promotion: Short-term fix or key to long-term reform?

Social promotion is one of the more controversial tools a school has to address student achievement shortfalls, and it’s also a central tenet of Florida’s aggressive education reform model. Students who are not proficient in reading by the third grade are held back from the fourth grade.

Critics say students are better off getting intensive remedial help with specific skills, rather than repeating an entire grade level. Supporters say it’s the best way to target the lowest achievers. 

Los Angeles Unified, the nation’s second-largest district, is revisiting the debate. So are many other districts and states considering adopting reform initiatives similar to Florida’s model. The Sunshine State has seen a marked jump in student test scores in recent years, particularly among at-risk minority children.

What is the existing social promotion policy in your district? Any plans for change? Have you come across any interesting studies or reports that might bolster or discourage social promotion as a tool of school reform?

This post originally appeared on EWA’s now-defunct online community, EdMedia Commons. Old content from EMC will appear in the Ed Beat archives.