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A large-scale, longitudinal study asked parents about grade retention and found that about one-third of students with SLD or OHI had been held back at least once.6 Research shows retention can have long-lasting effects on students academically and socially.

In adolescence, retained students are more likely to experience problems such as poor relationships with peers, aversion to school, behavior issues and low self-esteem. Repeating a grade is also one of the most powerful predictors of dropping out in high school.

For these reasons, parents and schools should weigh the long-term risks associated with having students repeat a grade against the challenges they are likely to face if they are promoted to the next grade before they have mastered certain skills. Assistive technology^ and other accommodations can often help students access grade-level curriculum while they receive remedial instruction.

If it’s necessary to repeat a grade, schools should specify which new interventions will be put in place to help the student succeed. It is also essential that schools use evidence-based interventions that are proven to be effective for students with learning and attention issues.

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