a1 James Cook University, Australia
The current study considers grade repetition rates in the early years of schooling in Queensland state schools with specific focus on the pre-schooling year, Prep. In particular, it provides empirical evidence of grade repetition in Queensland state schools along with groups of students who are more often repeated. At the same time, much of the educational research literature, drawn mainly from the United States, argues that grade repetition has limited, long-term value and may be harmful (Jimerson, 2001, 2004). Little is known about grade repetition rates or the groups of children who may be repeated in Australian schools as almost all research on grade repetition has been done overseas. To better understand grade repetition in Australia, the study draws on data from the Queensland Government's Department of Education and Training (DET), which looks specifically at grade repetition rates in Queensland state schools. While grade repetition rates remain low in Queensland states schools, the possible negative academic, social and emotional consequences for students who are repeated warrants serious re-evaluation of this long-term, early intervention practice in Australian schools. An alternative strategy would include promotion of all students to the next year level with a range of interventions to enable groups of low achieving students meet minimum national standards.
(Online publication June 15 2012)