6350 - Grade Advancement: Retention, Promotion & Acceleration of Students

Policy 6350 Grade Advancement: Retention, Promotion and Acceleration of Students title box

It is the policy of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, Bennington School District, Inc., Mount Anthony Union School District, North Bennington Graded School District, Pownal School District, Shaftsbury School District, and Woodford School District to assure all students have reached a standard of achievement necessary for satisfactory progress in the next grade.


Each child develops physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially at an individual rate, therefore not every student will complete twelve grade levels of work in the same amount of time. Some students will need more than twelve years, while others may need less.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) defines what students should know and be able to do at various stages of their school careers. Schools are responsible for adopting curricula that provide students with opportunities to master the standards. Promotion from grade to grade as well as retention and acceleration should be based on a student’s ability to meet the appropriate standards.


  • Acceleration is the advancement of a student by more than one grade beyond the current grade level at the middle school.
  • An advanced student is a student taking one or more classes beyond his/her grade level classification.
  • Promotion is the single grade step most students take from year to year.
  • Retention allows a student to repeat all or part of a grade in order to more fully prepare for the work of the next grade.


Classroom educators are responsible for assessing student progress and recommending the promotion of students each year. Educators will assess academic readiness to advance to the next grade using a thorough evaluation process that will include, but not be limited to, state and district testing, classroom based testing, portfolios, and observation – those offered by the teacher, the State as well as others chosen by the District. The evaluation will also take into account social, emotional, physical and mental growth, past academic performance and behavior, motivation, attendance, and other pertinent circumstances.<

The Principal will develop a process for the consideration of retention or acceleration that will involve parents/guardians in the process.

Students who are working under an Individual Education Plan [IEP] will be promoted or retained in accordance with their IEP.

I Acceleration
  1. Before considering acceleration, actions such as inclusion in a full or part-time gifted program, enrichment in the classroom, or other advanced courses through correspondence, distance learning, or through other institutions should be examined.

  2. Acceleration should be considered after enrichment opportunities have been thoroughly explored.

  3. Acceleration may include moving a student between two schools within the school day (e.g. from grade 6 to grade 7 or grade 8 to grade 9). Consent of both the sending and receiving schools, as well as transportation arrangements would be required prior to an acceleration plan.

II Retention
  1. The use of retention should be focused in the early primary grades at which time research indicates it is most effective.

  2. Standardized or criterion referenced material will be used to assist in the decision making process for retention (e.g. Light’s Retention Scale).

  3. Students not meeting the completion requirements at Mount Anthony Union Middle or High School may be considered for retention. (see administrative regulations)

  4. A student being considered for retention may:
    • be moved to the next grade if accompanied by a plan to address the specific areas of weakness and to demonstrate proficiency in those areas.
    • Alternatives to retention, such as remediation in class or out, tutoring in class or after school, mentoring, cooperative efforts with families, or summer school should be compared to retention for effectiveness, especially when a student has been previously retained.

  5. Student must earn a passing grade in order to receive course credit. MAU High School students are classified and counted each year chronologically as Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior and Senior, without regard to credit status. (see administrative regulation). High school students are not retained by lack of credits earned. Eligibility for graduation from MAUHS is based on successful completion of the required number and distribution of credits.

  6. The final decision regarding retention will be made by the school Principal after consultation with parents/guardians, classroom teacher and other professional staff. Parents may appeal a decision of the Principal to the Superintendent. The procedure for appeal will be found in the administrative regulations.

Legal Reference(s): VT State Board of Education Manual of Rules & Practices: §2120.2.2 (b)

Cross Reference: Student Attendance (F25)

Policy 6350 warning and adoption dates
Policy 6350 updated warning and adoption dates

Administrative regulations Policy # 6350 (Grade Advancement: Retention, Promotion And Acceleration of Students)

I. Mount Anthony Union Middle School – Grades 6, 7 and 8

A. Acceleration

  1. Parent request submitted in writing to the building Principal.

  2. Principal reviews request and additional student information with Student Guidance Team (SGT).
    • Student information may include review of report cards, MAP/NECAP results and teacher/team observations

  3. Principal informs parent of decision in writing.

B. Retention

  1. Prior to retention, the Educational Support System is utilized at the middle school to support students beginning at the core team level.

  2. Students identified as struggling academically are supported by the core team
    • Supports may include communicating with parents on student progress including use of the parent portal, parent conferences, creating a personal learning plan (PLP), homework club, interim grade reports and report cards (trimester).

  3. If student continues to struggle, the team can access Educational Support Team (EST) for additional resources (including consideration of evaluation for special education services).

  4. In addition, the team can request Quantum Leap a tutor through Student Guidance Team (SGT) for academic support and mentoring during school day.

  5. Guidance counselors also review student data in regard to attendance and grades.

  6. SGT meets weekly to monitor student progress and receive updates from core teams and guidance counselors.

  7. As required by the Student Handbook, parents are notified in writing each trimester if their student is in danger of/failing.

  8. Principal and Summer School Team meets in June to review list of students failing to recommend summer school, transition plans for specified academic areas or retention.

  9. Student and parents are notified in writing of requirements to be promoted to the next grade.

II. Mount Anthony Union High School – Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12

A. Graduation Requirements for MAUHS are as follows:

English: 4 credits
Social Science: 3 credits (Credits completed must include: SS1 World History
(4 M BCE-1400 CE); SS2 World History (1400 CE-1850); & SS3 US History
Mathematics: 3 credits
Science: 3 credits (Credits completed must include: Unified Science & Biology)
Technology: 0.5 credit
Physical Education: 1.5 credits
Health: 0.5 credit
Art/Music: 1 credit
Electives: 7.5 credits
Total: 24 credits needed to graduate

B. Grade Placement at MAUHS:

  1. Freshman (Grade 9): A student’s first year in high school.

  2. Sophomore (Grace 10): A student’s second year in high school.

  3. Junior (Grade 11): A student’s third year in high school.

  4. Senior (Grade 12): A student must have earned and be enrolled in enough credits to meet graduation requirements by the end of the school year. If a student does not meet these requirements he/she will be listed as an 11th grader.

III. The Elementary Schools process for retention and acceleration decisions

A. A student may be referred to the Education Support Team [EST] after results of the second MAP test are received and analyzed (usually by mid-February) prior to any recommendation for retention or acceleration in order to determine individual student eligibility for Special Education [SPED] services. At this stage, the student’s parents/guardians shall receive written notice of any proposals of the EST and given an opportunity to contribute to the decision-making process.

B. Prior to any decision about acceleration or retention a student who has been referred to the EST will receive a documented multi-tiered system of supports [MTSS] for focused intervention in order that the student meet grade level goals. Parents/Guardians will be provided written notice of the planned MTSS.

C. When evaluation of the MTSS referenced in B., above, shows that the student is not making adequate growth, the student will be referred for SPED services with written notice provided to the Parents/Guardians, for their participation.

D. When evaluation of the MTSS referenced in B., above, shows the student is making adequate growth but not sufficient to be successful in meeting the proficiency goals of the Common Core State Standards [CCSS] for the following year, a decision about retention (as well as any decisions about acceleration) will be made as soon as is reasonable, but prior to the end of the school year, and will take into consideration:
  1. Normed summative and formative assessments that indicate student achievement and growth. (E.g., MAP Tests, AIMS Web, SBAC, etc.)
  2. Qualitative Assessments by teachers, Principal, District personnel, SPED staff and others who have observed the student in the classroom and other settings.
  3. Observations that the student lacks the development of appropriate growth in all areas, including, but not limited to, emotional, social, behavioral, and intellectual.
  4. A record of attendance showing more than twenty-five (25) days of absence in an academic year.

Prior to any final decision regarding retention or acceleration, parents/guardians shall receive written notice and an opportunity to discuss the options regarding placement.

Parents/Guardians shall promptly receive written notice of any decision regarding placement (other than promotion) as well as the process for appeal, as published elsewhere in these Administrative Regulations.

IV. Appeal Process for a Principal’s decision to retain a student.

A. Notice of Appeal: Parents/Guardians of a student who will be retained by a Principal’s decision shall provide notice of their desire to appeal that decision to the Superintendent in writing within fifteen (15) days of receiving written notice of the initial decision.

B. Appeal Hearing: Parents/Guardians and the Superintendent shall schedule a hearing within ten (10) days unless mutually agreed by both parties. Parents will have the opportunity to state why they believe the decision of the Principal to retain the student is mistaken or has not followed the procedure outlined in the policy.

C. Decision: The Superintendent will issue a written decision to the parents/guardians stating whether the student will or will not be retained and the reasons why this decision is made.