New Haven’s High School in the Community carried out an experiment to end social promotion. The premise was simple: if a student does not perform at grade level in key academic areas, they will not be advance to the next grade.
The results: of the 43 students in the freshman class, none earned enough credits to enter the tenth grade by the end of the academic year in June.
“Which was sort of a surprise, and sort of not a surprise,” said Erik Good, the school’s chief administrator.
High School in the Community now offers a special summer program for struggling students to complete course work, an opportunity to promote to the next grade in the fall.
Good decided to tackle social promotion after hearing from some of their graduates.
“Too many of our kids were going to college and coming back and telling us they were not prepared to do college work,” Good said.
“Were stopping it here,” explains English teacher Matt Presser. “Were saying that we will promise you that you will be ready for college, for a career, for life in a way that other schools aren’t able to do yet.”
The new strategy has critics, including some parents, and the school is reviewing their academic standards. But the hope is by challenging students to master material and perform at grade level, they’ll graduate from high school with the tools they’ll need to compete in college.