EASTON, MD 21601
ENDORSED: 01/15/03
REVISED: 04/16/08

I. General Guidelines for Promotion

A. High expectations for student achievement are key to success. To achieve our county mission of helping each student to learn, grow, and succeed, student progress must be monitored and maintained. An instructional program that emphasizes differentiated instruction, targeted intervention, and individualized learning plans (when needed) underpins this mission and is described more fully in the Academic Intervention Policy.

B. Students must be minimally prepared in order to benefit from the instruction of skills that are hierarchical in nature and/or concepts that are increasingly complex and abstract with each successive year. Grade promotion is based on this need.

C. Students should progress through school with their age peers whenever possible. Research consistently shows that retention is seldom effective and substantially increases the risk of a student dropping out of school before graduation. Therefore retention should be used only after other attempts to mitigate deficiencies (including extended year) have proven unsuccessful.

II. Grades K - 5

A. Baseline academic expectations are established in reading and mathematics. Promotion to the next grade is based on demonstrated proficiency of these critical skills and concepts.

B. Baseline expectations will be reviewed at least bi-annually to ensure current alignment to State standards and to ensure the specified outcomes are necessary and sufficient to predict success in the next grade.


C. For students who have not met grade level baseline

expectations in reading and/or mathematics, appropriate intervention must be employed prior to the consideration of promotion/retention/assignment.

D. Retention is only to be considered when planned

baseline expectations in reading have been unsuccessful. If baseline expectations have been met in reading but not in math, the student may be assigned to the next grade (with an appropriate plan).

E. Retention for Kindergarten students is discouraged.

F. Students with disabilities as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) generally will not be considered for retention. Intervention must be employed prior to assignment to the next grade.

G. English Language Learner (ELL) students generally will not be considered for retention if it is determined that their English proficiency is the primary barrier to their academic progress. Appropriate interventions and learning support must be employed prior to assignment to the next grade.

III. Grades 6 - 8

A. Middle school students must demonstrate achievement in all academic areas that prepare them to meet the rigor of high school. Students must:

1. Pass mathematics with a final grade of 69.5 or above

2. Pass language arts with a final grade of 69.5 or above

3. Pass science and social studies with a combined average

of 69.5 or above

4. Pass related arts courses with a combined average of

69.5 or above

B. Summer school will be required for students who do not meet the promotion criteria listed above. Building principals will enforce the requirement for attendance on an individual basis.

C. After summer school, a review team will meet to decide


whether the student is a candidate for promotion, retention, or assignment (with a learning plan).

D. The review team, at a minimum, will consist of the principal, a guidance counselor, and a teacher familiar with the student.

E. Eighth-grade students with disabilities who have active IEPs will be assigned to 9th grade if:

1. They are tested by an alternative assessment (ALT MSA).

2. They are tested by a modified assessment (Mod-MSA)

3. An appropriate intervention plan is developed in the content area where a standard was not met.

IV. Specific Procedures for Grades K - 8

A. For grades K-8, The principal, working with teachers and guidance counselors, will determine those students who are


candidates for assignment or retention and will establish a committee to review each candidate. These committees can be the existing Student Services Teams or Promotion/Retention Committees and will, as a minimum, include the principal, a guidance counselor, and a teacher familiar with the student.

B. After alternate instructional strategies and targeted interventions have been employed without significant student progress, committees shall rule out other causes for non-mastery of objectives. This might entail referrals to Student Services Team (SST), special education child study committees, or other assessments and special programming.

C. The SST or Promotion/Retention Committee, after reviewing the student’s progress, will recommend promotion, retention, or assignment for the next school year. The principal will make the final decision. The principal may choose to defer or revise the decision for a student who participates in summer school intervention(s).

D. When retention is the decision, an Individual Learning Plan


will be developed for educational support for the school year in which the retention is to occur. No student will be retained more than once in grades 1 – 5 and once in grades 6-8.

E. If retention is recommended, notification to parents will be given prior to the final report card. The parent or guardian may appeal the principal’s decision to the superintendent.

V. Guidelines for Grades 9 – 12

A. Student records are kept in terms of the anticipated “year of graduation” (YOG) based on first time entry to high school. Thus, all the students who enter 9th- grade together are considered to be a single cohort as they progress through school.

B. To ensure accurate record keeping and clarity of reports, it is important that students be tracked by cohort. Therefore, the grade in school (and its traditional name) will be based solely on years of high school attendance. That is, when a student enters high school for the first time, s/he is a 9th grader and a freshman. The next year that student is designated a 10th-grader and a sophomore, etc.

C. Most students graduate in four years, though a few students require more or less time. A student in his/her fourth year (12th grade) is called a senior, though it is important to remember that graduation eligibility depends on completing all specified requirements.

D. Any student in his/her final year of high school will be considered part of the senior class. This includes students who attend beyond four years, as well as those who are approved for early graduation at the end of three years.

E. In order for a student to maintain acceptable progress toward meeting all requirements and graduating on time, (s)he should follow the pacing guide below:

At the end of





(tests passed or points)

Service Learning

(documented hours)


5 with 1 English

0-1 or 400pts



12 with 2 English

2-3 or 1200 pts



17 with 3 English

3-4 or 1500 pts



22 per Policy IKF

4 &/or 1602 pts


F. The final report card of the school year will include a summary of credits earned as well as progress on HSA and Service Learning.