Education and its quality are at the heart of children’s success in the future. Social promotion is the practice of student’s promotion to the next grade, even if their level of academic achievement does not meet the standards for this step. Promotion supports the socialization and self-esteem of children and prevents excessive burdens on the school. Moreover, the existing alternative to it – retention, supported by opponents of social advancement, is not an effective solution to the problem of academic achievement. Despite the lack of knowledge accompanying social promotion, gaps can be filled additionally, but students’ self-esteem may be harmed, affecting future success, and the alternative of retention will do more harm than good.
Social promotion allows students to continue studying with their peers and friends and not feel excluded in a new and younger class. In this way, “social promotion favored the child’s social and psychological well-being” (Chen, 2019, para. 3). That is, remaining in a familiar group, children receive the social support they need and do not feel worse than their peers. Well-being affects self-esteem and self-confidence and significantly determines motivation and disposition for learning. When promoting, students can take additional classes, for example, in summer school, to understand the basics necessary for further study. Thus, promotion is required for the confidence of the child, and at the same time can maintain school work.
The promotion saves the classes of students of the same size as before. A large number of retentions “would immediately overwhelm the already maximally stressed capacity of school systems’ staff, budgets, and space”(Reville, 2020, para. 1). Adding new retained students will force teachers to redefine their focus on more children. In such a situation, the burden on teachers increases, and they cannot conduct classes effectively enough. Too large groups, especially with attention to the lagging students, will negatively affect the performance of more children. Attempts to solve the problem, and an increase in the total number of students, will also lead to a redistribution of the school budget, creating unforeseen financial issues. As a result, promotion is more effective in school work, and retention creates a burden and is not an appropriate alternative.
The current lack of a decent alternative to social promotion also suggests its need. The modern educational system does not “take account of their [students] current strengths and weaknesses and provide them with targeted learning opportunities and supports” (Reville, 2020, para. 7). Since the education system does not have an individual approach, the retention and repetition of the subject do not guarantee students’ success. Not helping to deepen the knowledge of the subject complex for the student, retention also adds stress and boredom to other subjects studied. Each student’s abilities are unique, and retention will reduce progress in successful areas and demotivate the child. When students have a difficult family situation and do not receive parental support, an unresolved problem of academic performance and lack of motivation can lead to leaving school or causing challenging behavior. For these reasons, social promotion is better than the currently existing alternative.
Thus, the social promotion has more advantages, allowing students to move to the next grade despite academic failures. This process enables maintaining students’ self-esteem and does not violate their socialization, contributing to social and psychological well-being. Students’ promotion also prevents additional burdens on teachers, the school, and its budget. Finally, the alternative to this process is retention, which is not effective enough to solve the problem of academic achievement and can bring additional issues. Therefore, critics of both promotion and retention approaches should develop and propose an alternative that will completely solve the problem.
Chen, G. (2019). Is social promotion crippling our children’s future? The debate. Public School Review. Web.
Reville, S. P. (2020). Schools are socially promoting students en masse. What comes next? Education Week. Web.