1. 0 Introduction This report will explore the concepts of existing education policies in a developed country – Singapore. The Minister of Education of Singapore commissioned this report to account for the impacts of student retention to its advantages, disadvantages and impacts. This report is constructed with at least 6 credible scholarly articles and the MOE’s official website. Although the idea of retention in Singapore is not unfamiliar, this report will distinguish the ramifications of retention and describes the implications of retention in a developed country like Singapore. 2. 0Purpose of Grade Retention 2. 1Goals of Retention.
The practice of holding back ostensibly weaker students for one more year on the grounds of failed academic prowess is common in Singapore. Retention policy calls for requiring students who have failed to achieve satisfactorily to repeat their current grade the following year. “Promotional Gates in certain grades found that 20 to 40 percent of the students did not qualify for promotion” (Brophy 2006, 13). This is motivated by a conservative belief that retaining students provides another opportunity to master content which students failed to master and consequently leave students better equipped to succeed in the following year.
“Most grade repetition in developed countries is imposed by schools on low-achieving students who have made poor progress despite regular attendance” (Brophy 2006, 12). 2. 2Does Retention Satisfy Original Goals “Sixth grade students rated grade retention as the single most stressful life event” (Riggert et al 2006, 71). Repetition is principally made up of two forms, voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary happens when students whom are considered “at risk” drop out of school before attempting the final exams “Repetition is associated with low achievement and early dropout” (Brophy 2006, 9).
Voluntarily means forfeiting the chance of progress. Familial background, financial conditions or past stigmas all play a major part in the decision but grade retention policy makers believe that it is for schools to maintain high standards therefore retention does satisfy the goals of the school but not the goals of the student. 3. 0Factors & Conditions Leading to Failing a Student 3. 1Academic Achievement Grade repetition is decided on the academic achievement of the student, decision is made by the authoritative body, normally a minimal grade of 50 percentage achieved in all subjects will suffice in passing.
“At risk” students make up the notable percentage in this category, commands a higher probability despite regular attendance and class performances. This supports Diederich’s statement of schools superfluously weighs subjects through the final examinations as a criterion to pass students. “These patterns indicate that prior academic achievement and expectations were related to retention” (Diederich 1978, 10). 3. 2Disciplinary Problems Social influences play a huge part in the development of the student’s mentality towards education.
Attributing to the student’s behavior, students from lower income families work while attending school and evidently the student is unable to give their full-time attention to their academic endeavors. “Staff typically see student failure or success as essentially the results the students achieved, obviously student effort, ability and motivation are powerful factors in the equation”(Wimshurst, Bates and Wortley 2002, 12). Students are often misunderstood because enthusiasm in a student is often miscomprehended.
This attributes to the student’s interest towards education and forms the outline of his or hers behavior. “School-imposed grade repetition has negative effects on achievement and is associated with social adjustment problems and increased likelihood of dropping out” (Brophy 2006, 4) 4. 0Advantages & Disadvantages of Student Repetition and Failure 4. 1 Effects on Academic Achievement Retention does not assist with the student’s academic achievements. “Grade retention was not found to be a beneficial intervention, overall, in the studies examined” (Sterns et al 2007, 220).
Developing a lack of interest in education, this contradicts to the fantasy that repeating is beneficial. Students have a greater probability to drop out when forced to repeat. “Grade retention has been identified as the single most powerful predictor of dropping out” (Swail 2004, 9). On the other hand, a very small minority showed the tenacity to hold on to their education careers and displayed a slight improvement in their academic achievements.
4. 2Social Effects & Psychological on Students “Involuntary grade repetition has negative effects on social, emotional and behavioral aspects” (Brophy 2006, 16). Grade repetition does not improve academic achievement but the contrary; it carries harmful effects on social, emotional and behavioral characteristics. Displaying poorer social adjustments and negative attitudes, Students have difficulty in adjusting, self-esteem is reduced drastically.
“Drug use, teenage pregnancy, gangs, school dropouts, suicide, violence, political apathy, casual sex and more recently depression”(McInerney 2006, 12) the synthesis of these factors will optimize the likelihood of these students dropping out. Grade repetition is affiliated with long-term effects such as – the probability of a poorer education, limiting their employment opportunities. 5. 0Conclusion Cumulative evidence from research clearly demonstrates that there are no distinct advantages to repetition, and negative impacts outweigh the positive.
“They (teachers) see the temporary advantages appear during retention year” (Brophy 2006, 28). It is imperative for policy makers to analyze the societal and psychological consequences. Current policies must be revised at an arms length with schools that are beneficial to students and schools. “It appears that many, if not most politicians, administrators and teachers remain unaware of the evidence against school-imposed retention or they are misled by false claims that support it” (Brophy 2006, 27) 6. 0Recommendations Retention is mandated in a developed country such as – Singapore.
A conservative education system with policies that requires students to repeat without achieving minimal requirements, Singapore’s education system can benefit by administering or implementing a change in her existing educational policies. “Denmark, Japan, Korea, Norway and Sweden’s emphasizes on automatic promotion and this should put to rest any concerns that automatic promotion policies will lead to mediocre schooling” (Brophy 2006, 23). They are as follows: – Adopt smaller classes in primary and secondary schools ranging from ten to twenty students per teacher ratio. – Prioritize and provide at-risk students with additional learning opportunities and methods.
Teachers and parents must be collaborating to prevent the lack of interest in students. – Suspend the streaming of students. Students whom are subjected to streaming undergo intense stress to exhibit good grades. Not possessing the maturity to handle the pressure and carrying the stigma of this unnecessary rite of passage, the probability of dropping out will increase significantly. – Evaluate Students not only through a single high stakes test but track continuous progress through participation and performance. – Develop a progressive learning system as an assessment, either for teachers to act upon rather than just report failure and move on.
Number of Words: 1095 Reference list – Swail, Scott Watson. 2004. The Art of Student Retention. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. – Roderick, Melissa and Jenny Nagaoka. Retention under Chicago’s High-Stakes Testing Program: Helpful, Harmful or Harmless? Source: Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Vol. 27, No. 4 (Winter, 2005), pp. 309-340. American Educational Research Association. – McInerney, Peter. 2006. ‘Blame the student, blame the school or blame thesystem? ’: Educational policy and the dilemmas of student engagementand school retention—a Freirean perspective.
University of Ballarat. – Stearns, Elizabeth, Stephanie Moller, Judith Blau and Stephanie Potochnick. 2007. Staying Back and Dropping out: The Relationship betweenGradeRetention and School Dropout. Source: Sociology of Education,Vol. 80, No. 3 (Jul. ,2007), pp. 210-240. American SociologicalAssociation. – Riggert, Steven C, Mike Boyle, Joseph M. Petrosko, Daniel Ash and CarolynRudeParkins. 2006. Student Employment and Higher Education:Empiricism andContradiction. Source: Review of EducationalResearch, Vol. 76, No. 1(Spring, 2006), pp. 63-92. AmericanEducational Research Association. – Diederich Ott, Mary.
1978. Retention of Men and Women EngineeringStudents. Source: Research in Higher Education, Vol. 9, No. 2 (1978),pp. 137-150. Springer. – Bosshardt, William. 2004. Student Drops and Failure in Principles Courses. Source: The Journal of Economic Education, Vol. 35, No. 2 (Spring,2004), pp. 111- 128. Taylor and Francis Ltd. – Tinto, Vincent. 2001. Taking Student Retention Seriously. SyracuseUniversity. – A. Bali, Valentina, Dorothea Anagnostopoulos, Reginald Roberts. 2005. Source: Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Vol. 27, No. 2(Summer, 2005), pp. 133-155. American Educational ResearchAssociation.