This study of grade-level advancement/retention policies and procedures in 10 school districts shows how retention policy and procedure are disconnected from retention research. Administrators and teachers experience ethical dilemmas when district policy and prescribed practice collide with realities that underlie student failure. However, acts of discretionary insubordination offer compromises. As the study demonstrates, when policy and research align and when educators acknowledge that neither retention nor social promotion is acceptable, viable alternatives and intervention programs can be explored.
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