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524.1 Guideline: Promotion, Retention and Acceleration

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524.1 Guideline: Promotion, Retention and Acceleration

The administrative guidelines below provide direction regarding promotion, retention, and acceleration in Richfield Public Schools and are consistent with Board Policy 524.


A. Promotion

Promotion is the system of students moving from grade level to the next grade level in school.

B. Retention

Retention is the practice of repeating an academic year of school.

C. Acceleration

Acceleration is the practice of moving students through traditional curriculum at a rate faster than is typical.  Acceleration can include single subject acceleration (e.g. learning fifth grade math as a fourth grader), grade skipping (e.g. going from first to third grade), early entrance to kindergarten, compacted curriculum or classes (e.g. learning all sixth grade math standards and half of seventh grade math standards in a single year), or college-credit bearing courses at high school (e.g. College in the Schools, Advanced Placement).

D. Twice-exceptional

The term “twice-exceptional”, also referred to as 2E is used to describe gifted children who have the characteristics of gifted students with the potential for high achievement, and who also give evidence of one or more disabilities as defined by federal or state eligibility criteria (National Association of Gifted Children [NAGC]).

E. Enrichment

Enrichment consists of activities that add to, deepen, or go beyond the existing curriculum (National Association of Gifted Children [NAGC]).

F. Intervention

An intervention is a specific and intentional educational opportunity which provides students with the support they need to acquire a certain skill needed to be successful at grade level.


The Board of Education expects all students to achieve at acceptable levels of proficiency, thereby being promoted to the next grade level at the completion of each school year.  Parental assistance, enrichment and intervention programs, counseling and other appropriate services shall be coordinated and utilized to the greatest extent possible to help students succeed in school. There can be exceptions to annual grade level promotion, when these exceptions are in the best educational interest of the student. Parents/guardians, and teachers should initiate the process for student promotion, retention, or acceleration.  

A student’s readiness for promotion, retention, or acceleration must be considered. 

A. Promotion

Students who achieve at levels deemed acceptable by local and state standards shall be promoted to the next level at the completion of each school year. 

B. Retention

Retention of a student is not supported by research in most cases and is rarely recommended. Retention of a student will only be considered in extreme instances when school and district professionals, in close collaboration with parents, utilizing multiple data points to determine it is in the best social, emotional, and academic interest of the student; further, it must be determined that the student is likely, if retained, to achieve and maintain academic and/or social proficiencies at grade level or above throughout their schooling. Physical development and health, maturity, emotional factors, birthdate, and family situation (such as sibling grade level) shall be considered along with academic achievement.  The superintendent shall make the final determination, and that decision will be deemed final.

C. Acceleration

The school district will implement guidelines for assessing and identifying students for participation in talent development programs, advanced academics, and acceleration.  The guidelines will utilize the use of:

i. Multiple objective criteria;

ii. Assessments and procedures that are valid, reliable, fair, based on current theory and research.  Procedures will be sensitive to under-represented groups of students, including, but not limited to, students of color, English learners, twice-exceptional students, and students of limited economic means.

iii. The school district will implement procedures for academic acceleration of academically advanced students. The acceleration process is a collaborative effort between school district staff and family, including parents/guardians and, when developmentally appropriate, from the student.  The procedures will include a plan on how the school district will match the level, complexity, and pace of the curriculum to a student to achieve the best type of academic acceleration for that student.  These procedures include, but are not limited to:

iv. Differentiation in the student’s core or grade level class  

v. Subject or course acceleration
If full subject acceleration is implemented through a sequential content area, a plan must be created that accommodates the potential for continued sequential implementation beyond the year that the subject acceleration is instituted. Teachers and families will work with the building administrator and the Superintendent or Designee to create a plan that is beneficial for the student.

vi. Full grade level acceleration 
The school district recognizes that, in rare cases, some students demonstrate the great need for grade level acceleration. Grade level acceleration may be considered for students who exhibit superior levels of aptitude and have demonstrated high levels of competency in multiple academic areas.  In these cases, full grade level acceleration may be considered.  Teachers and families will work with the building administrator and the Superintendent or Designee to create a plan that is beneficial for the student.

Dated: April 7, 1997 

Revised: November 18, 2019