I have the right to request a damaging and inaccurate psychological
or any other report be removed from my child's school record?
and no. You have the federally guaranteed right to inspect your child's
educational records maintained by the school. You also have the right
to request that any records that are inaccurate or misleading be changed.
son is a smart, well adjusted child who was doing quite well in his
first grade where he was placed on arrival based on his age. It was
an absolute surprise for us when we were informed recently that the
school recommends to hold him back in the first grade next year because
he "is almost half a year behind his peers in cognitive language
development." What should we do: accept school recommendation and
hold him, or insist on 2nd grade placement because I feel that he is
catching up with his English language very well for one year?"
It's very important to do the right thing at this moment, because the
2nd grade is indeed the time when certain mastery of cognitive/academic
language will be needed to our students to understand explanations in
the class, answer "why" and "how" questions, operate
with basic abstract notions, etc. And this is the time when lots of
issues based on cognitive language delays become apparent. So, a possibility
that your school personnel does see something troublesome in your child's
performance is quite real. On the other hand, your child is only 1 year
in the country and in the family; apparently he was advancing pretty
well if he is now functioning at the middle of he first grade level
as far as his cognitive language goes. What would be seen as a disturbing
problem for a native English language speaker, is in fact a great achievement
for a child adopted from another country a year ago!
Are there any negative sides to being held in the
same grade without real need? Obviously, emotional factor (separation
with class mates and favorite teachers, a blow to self esteem, etc.)
should be considered, but no less important is the fact that you will
lose this possibility of holding the child back next time if it becomes
The most important question to consider before making
a decision is: will holding back help if your son does have learning
problems? Won't it be a wasted year of just repeating the same instead
of working on correction of specific problems? You will be able to arrive
at the right decision having find out first what the current developmental
status of your child is: do you witness temporary new language acquisition
difficulties, or are there genuine learning disabilities which just
begin surfacing and which would require special remedial programming
for the child, not just holding back for another year. Only a psycho-educational
assessment can give you a definitive answer.
Boris Gindis, Ph.D.