ADOPTED: 01/15/03
REVISED: 10/19/05
REVIEWED: 07/30/10


I. The Board of Education reaffirms its belief in the mission statement that “each student will learn, grow, and succeed”. We also believe that the successful learner will demonstrate exit outcomes as defined in Policy Code 1.4. We further believe that success is enhanced through positive interaction of school, students, parents, and community with all accepting responsibilities for the success of students.

II. As the result of our instructional process, based on mastery learning, we expect each student to master the essential objectives as outlined in the various Courses of Study to prepare them for their post-secondary experience.

III. The Board of Education directs the Superintendent to establish Administrative Regulations that specify criteria for determining grade level promotion, retention, or assignment.

IV. Definitions

A. Promotion – The student advances to the next grade level.

B. Retention – The student remains in the same grade because specified baseline expectations have not been met, interventions have not been successful, and it is believed that an additional year would be beneficial.

C. Assignment – The student is placed in the next grade even though specified baseline expectations have not been met. Instead, the student has demonstrated progress with interventions or has previously been retained in elementary and/or middle school.

D. Baseline Expectations – The minimum skills necessary to make progress in the next grade.

E. Intervention – Additional instruction provided to students who do not meet baseline expectations in reading and/or mathematics.

  1. Individual Learning Plan (ILP) – a specific plan that outlines intervention strategies to ensure students meet baseline expectations in reading and/or mathematics.


G. Student Services Team Plan (SST) – a specific plan which outlines intervention strategies to insure student success. This plan provides interventions for students as needed in the following areas: academic, medical, behavioral, and social.

V. Grades 1 – 8

For students in grades 1 – 8, the Board recognizes the responsibility of professionals to consider the whole child’s development, i.e. academic, social, emotional, and physical maturity. The Board supports the research which indicates that students learn at different rates and the research findings on grade level retention which follow:

A. Retention generally hurts self-respect and student attitude toward school. Cumulative results show negative effects consistently outweigh positive outcomes.

B. Retention does not meet the goals of helping students catch up to grade level and stay there. Most students do not benefit from being retained. Students who are retained more than once in their school career are less likely to finish high school.

C. “Should a student be assigned or should a student be retained?” is often the wrong question. The proper question should be, “Is the delivered instruction appropriate for the individual child?”

D. There is no body of research that supports retention in the early learning years. Therefore, the key to success with low achieving students appears to be providing a different approach to instruction along with early intervention.

VI. Grades 9 – 12

The Board of Education recognizes that students in grades 9 – 12 must earn a specific number of units in a prescribed program of study in order to be promoted. Please refer to Talbot County Policy Code 9.32-AR and Code of Maryland Regulations13A.03.02.03.