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Elementary Promotion Guide

Will my child be promoted to the next grade?

AB 1626 & AB 1639

An Elementary Parents’ Guide to Understanding the New Laws
Affecting Student Promotion.
(Board Policy 5123)

What is social promotion and why is there a problem?

California has been addressing the issue of student accountability for the past several years. Too many students are not successful in middle school and high school because their reading, math, and language arts skills are not sufficient to allow them to complete class work satisfactorily. These students are referred to as non-proficient students, or students who have not mastered grade level skills.

Many non-proficient students were socially promoted from one grade level to the next, as teachers and parents hoped that with a little more time the student would learn the necessary grade level skills. Unfortunately, this commonly did not happen. Students often fell further and further behind. Even when students showed growth, some remained below grade level.

New laws now require school districts to address the serious issue of the non-proficient student and put an end to automatic promotion.

Why did the problem occur?

  • There are several common reasons a student may not learn grade level skills. One or more of these may apply to your child:The student entered Kindergarten with very few skills that prepare a child for learning. For example, he/she could not recognize or name shapes, colors, or numbers.
  • The student does not understand English well enough to demonstrate required grade level skills in English.
  • The student has a learning problem that has not yet been identified or addressed.
  • The student has been moved from school to school frequently or may have very poor attendance.
  • The student needs additional help from home and school.

What will be done about the problem?

Growing concerns about students who are not grade level proficient resulted in newly enacted laws that require school districts to retain, or hold back, students. The purpose of retaining students is to provide additional opportunities for a student to learn grade level skills. School districts must offer a student who has been retained a program designed to meet his or her learning needs.

AB 1626, Pupil Promotion and Retention, requires all school districts to establish a promotion and retention policy. Our school district’s Board Policy 5123 requires all students between grades 2-8 to demonstrate mastery of grade level standards by grades (C or better) and test scores (41st percentile or better)

AB 1639 requires school districts to offer supplemental instruction to students in grades 2-8 with low reading, writing, or math achievement.

How will I be notified?

Parents of students in grades 2-8 will be notified as follows:

  • At a parent conference
  • On report cards/progress reports
  • In parent notification letters

Questions regarding Board Policy 5123?

Contact Site Administrator or Anne Silavs, Assistant Superintendent, Instruction


  1. Ask your child’s teacher to explain the math, reading, and language arts grade level standards your child has not achieved.
  2. Ask the teacher to share how the supplemental instructional program will help your child with his/her specific needs.
  3. Make arrangements for your child to attend programs designed to help students at risk of being retained.
  4. Set regular times of the day and week for you to work with your child on the skills he/she needs to learn.
  5. Explain to your child how you will help at home and how the school will help to support your child in attaining grade success.
  6. Praise your child for effort and good work.
  7. Carefully monitor your child’s progress. If your child continues to struggle, contact your child’s teacher.

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