Volume 14, Issue 1 (1985)
Retention and Social Promotion for the Exceptional Child
Andrea A. Carstens
The purpose of this paper was to examine the theoretical and empirical support available for retention and social promotion, with special reference to the exceptional child. A review and commentary on the empirical literature published after 1960 was presented to examine the impact of these procedures on academic performance, self-esteem, and social development. The underlying assumptions and implicit goals for retention were evaluated in view of Gesellian, behavior analysis, cognitive developmental, and mastery learning frameworks. Predictions regarding the efficacy of these procedures for slow learners, learning disabled, and immature children were offered. It was concluded that there is no empirical support for retention or social promotion as effective interventions for children with school failure, and that the Gesellian framework is the only view which supports retention on theoretical grounds. It was suggested that future research focus on the identification of more efficient and appropriate instruction for children with different learning rates and styles, rather than on these pseudo solutions.
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