AP 208: Student Acceleration, Promotion Or Retention

Instruction & Assessment


It is expected that students will normally progress from one grade level to the next on an annual basis. The Superintendent demonstrates a belief in equal opportunity and equal access to quality education in a supportive, positive and challenging environment. The decision to promote a student from one grade to the next will be made based on measurable data and assessments and made in the best interest of the student based on input from the teacher(s), parent(s) and Principal. This administrative procedure outlines the procedures for decision making in those individual situations where the question about whether a student should be retained or accelerated is raised.


a)  Acceleration: shall refer to a process of promotion in which a decision is made by the Associate Superintendent, Learning Services, for a student to skip or miss one or more grade levels.

b)  Promotion: shall refer to the annual process in which a student proceeds to the next grade level in the subsequent school year.

c)  Retention: shall refer to the annual process where promotion to the next grade level is declined by the Associate Superintendent, Learning Services, for a student to repeat the same grade due to lack of achievement.

Regarding Promotion

1. Successful achievement of learning outcomes shall be determined as defined within the Alberta Programs of Study.

2. A student who has demonstrated successful achievement of the outcomes, for the grade in which they are registered, shall be promoted to the next grade level.

3. Annual student promotion shall be reviewed by the Principal in consultation with the relevant teaching staff.

Regarding Acceleration

The summary of the research supports the practice of acceleration in those cases where the teacher has appropriately assessed the student, a future program plan has been developed, and planning for implementation has occurred.

4. The decision to accelerate a student shall be based on the following factors:

4.1. current level of achievement,

4.2. academic assessment,

4.3. social – emotional maturity of the student,

4.4. parent input, and

4.5. school context.

5. Consideration of the factors in section 4. should indicate that the decision to accelerate is in the best interest of the student.

6. The Associate Superintendent, Learning Services shall approve or decline student acceleration in consultation with the Principal.

Regarding Retention

The summary of the research does not support the practice of retention for students demonstrating academic difficulties.

More effective alternatives to retention include motivating and engaging students in learning and supporting students in a vary of alternative ways in an effort to successfully move them towards high school completion.

7. In situations where the parent(s) are insisting that retention takes place, it is the responsibility of the principal to ensure parents are aware of the implications of grade retention.

8. In those circumstances where a student has been assessed, consultation with the parents has occurred and the reasons and benefits for retention have been clearly identified, a decision to retain may result.

Parents should be involved and supportive of any discussion or consideration for retention of their child and sign consent.

9. Students identified with a disability should not be identified for possible retention in their grade if they have a disability and their programming needs have been addressed in an Individual Program Plan.

10. The decision to retain a student in their current grade should have evidence indicating that the decision is in the best interest of the student.

11. The Associate Superintendent, Learning Services shall approve or decline student retention after consultation with the Principal.


Date Approved:  June 26, 2020


Education Act: 7, 11, 31, 32, 56

Reviewed or Revised:
Executive: June, 2020

References shall be updated as required and do not require additional approval.