Grade repetition

High repetition rate is a mark of poor internal efficiency of the educational system and a poor level of instruction. The consequences of retention arise from the fact that it discourages students with low motivation, confidence and social promotion, and forces retained students to repeat the same curriculum while their advancing peers keep learning more advanced topics (OECD, 2014). In developing countries, apart from not performing academically, many students repeat classes due to their inability to pay the school fees, and thus are frequently absent from school. This frequent absenteeism ends up leading to poor academic performance, which further leads to students repeating that grade. Furthermore, students from disadvantaged backgrounds tend to enter school late, which leads them to repeat grades.

Repeating for a student is usually considered to be a good solution if the learning objectives for that grade level have not been met with (UIS-UNESCO, 2012). The decision to make a student repeat is sometimes made unilaterally by the classroom teacher. According to studies conducted by UNESCO, in some countries learning achievement is not the only criteria for repetition. Students can be held back due to insufficient social or physical maturity during the early grades of schooling. In some cases, students are made to repeat simply because the schools that they attend do not have upper grades or the school simply lack sufficient places to accommodate them (UIS-UNESCO, 2012).

A wide range of studies and empirical evidence have still not reached a consensus on the use of repetition to address insufficient learning (Ndaruhutse, 2008; Crahay, 2007; IIEP-UNESCO, 1997; UIS-UNESCO, 2012). Many countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, East Asia, and the Pacific, face high repetition rates, resulting in  high drop-out, which could be linked to lack of financial resources and drop in students’ motivation.

References
Ikeda, M.; Garcia., E. 2014. Grade Repetition: A comparative study of academic and non-academic consequences. Paris: OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Retrieved from: https://www.oecd.org/economy/grade-repetition-a-comparative-study-of-academic-and-non-academic-consequences.pdf

Koros, P.K.; Sang, A.K.; Bosire, J.N. 2013. Repetition Rates in Public Secondary Schools in Kericho District in Relation to Selected School Characteristics: A Situational Analysis. Journal of Education and Practice. Retrieved from: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.889.8601&rep=rep1&type=pdf

UIS-UNESCO (UNESCO Institute for Statistics). 2012. Opportunities Lost: the impact of grade repetition and early school leaving. Global Education Digest 2012. Montreal: UIS-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/opportunities-lost-the-impact-of-grade-repetition-and-early-school-leaving-en_0.pdf

UIS-UNESCO (UNESCO Institute for Statistics). n.d. Repetition rate by Grade. Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/en/glossary-term/repetition-rate-grade

Promising policy options

Monitoring, decentralisation, and financial investment

Within an education system is it important to provide clear rules concerning repetition. Give clear guidelines at the local and school level on the situations in which a student should repeat a grade, improve monitoring systems, and collect and analyse repetition rates at a national and local level in order to determine whether patterns arise.

Identify the predominant causes for grade repetition as well as the groups of students who are particularly affected (for instance, minority populations, gender, children with disabilities) and develop systems to identify and monitor children who may be at risk of repetition. Promote evidence-based decision-making to tackle down high repetition rates.

Increase decision-making at sub-national levels. Municipalities should be entrusted with more responsibilities, such as:

  • preparing a more inclusive curriculum according to the socio-cultural atmosphere.
  • providing social support in terms of school meals, school transportation, managing school infrastructure and hiring of teaching and non-teaching staff; and
  • enhancing partnerships with parents and community members.

Finances should be directed towards policy reforms that aim at improving learning outcome in schools. This could include reforms such as increasing instruction time in schools, teacher professionalism and improving quality of education.

References
Brophy, J. 2006. Grade Repetition. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO and IEA (The International Academy of Education). Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000152038

European Commission. 2017. Education and Training Monitor 2017. Retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/education/sites/education/files/monitor2017-es_en.pdf

GPE (Global Partnership for Education), UIS-UNESCO (UNESCO Institute for Statistics), Hewlett Foundation. 2016. Understanding what works in oral reading assessments: Recommendations from donors, implementers and practitioners. Montreal: UIS-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/understanding-what-works-in-oral-reading-assessments-recommendations-from-donors-implementers-and-practitioners-2016-en_3.pdf

Masino, S; Niño-Zarazua, M. 2015. ‘What works to improve the quality of student learning in developing countries?’ In: International Journal of Education Development. Retrieved from: https://ac.els-cdn.com/S0738059315300146/1-s2.0-S0738059315300146-main.pdf?_tid=9fd26ffd-b880-4738-a5ea-495311c2e550&acdnat=1528432689_88edbe8a8fde2e1bb964f2c7c5e70d9e

Ministry of Education of Rwanda; UNICEF. 2017. Understanding Dropout and Repetition in Rwanda: Full Report. Kigali: Ministry of Education of Rwanda. Retrieved from: http://www.rencp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/DROPOUT-STUDY-FULL-REPORT.pdf

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). 2014a. Education Policy Outlook: Portugal. Paris: OECD. Retrieved from: http://www.oecd.org/education/EDUCATION%20POLICY%20OUTLOOK_PORTUGAL_EN.pdf

Right to Education. 2017. Monitoring the Right to Education Using Indicators. Retrieved from: http://www.right-to-education.org/monitoring/content/repetition-rate

The World Bank. 2013a. Improving the Quality, Efficiency and Access to basic Education in Djibouti. Results. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://www.worldbank.org/en/results/2013/05/20/improving-the-quality-efficiency-and-access-to-basic-education-in-djibouti

The World Bank. 2017a. Improving Public Education and the Use of Public Resources in the State of Pernambuco, Brazil. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from:  http://www.worldbank.org/en/results/2017/04/11/improving-public-education-and-the-use-of-public-resources-in-education-in-the-state-of-pernambuco-brazil

UIS-UNESCO (UNESCO Institute for Statistics). 2012. Opportunities Lost: the impact of grade repetition and early school leaving. Global Education Digest 2012. Montreal: UIS-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/opportunities-lost-the-impact-of-grade-repetition-and-early-school-leaving-en_0.pdf

UIS-UNESCO (UNESCO Institute for Statistics). 2015. Pacific Education for All 2015 review. Apia: UIS-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/pacific-education-for-all-2015-review-en_1.pdf

Wales, J; Ali, A; Nicolai, S; Morales, F; Contreas, D. 2014. Improvements in the quality of basic education: Chile’s experience. London: Overseas Development Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/9067.pdf

Building on student motivation

Promote compulsory free primary education or subsidized primary education, and boost provisions to let private schools take in low-income students at a subsidized cost.

Include extra-curricular activities such as sports, music, art-work, among others. This helps in building student motivation to attend school.

Push towards the improvement in the quality of education, including improving the quality of the learning materials and the school’s climate, making it safe, healthy, gender-responsive, inclusive and conducive to learning (for more information consult Policy pages School climate and Textbook availability and content).

References
Brophy, J. 2006. Grade Repetition. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO and IEA (The International Academy of Education). Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000152038

GomesNeto, J.B.; Hanushek, E.A. 2010. Causes and Consequences of Grade Repetition: Evidence from Brazil. Retrieved from: http://na-11-5.static.avantel.net.mx/Ceducativa/CartillaB/6antologia/antecedentes/pdf/40.-%20CAUSES%20AND%20CONSEQUENCES%20OF%20GRADE%20REPETITION%20-%20EVIDENCE%20FROM%20BRAZIL.pdf

Haidary, A. 2013. Controversy over Grade Repetition: Afghan teachers’ View on Grade Repetition. Retrieved from: https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:695166/FULLTEXT01.pdf

Ikeda, M.; Garcia., E. 2014. Grade Repetition: A comparative study of academic and non-academic consequences. Paris: OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Retrieved from: https://www.oecd.org/economy/grade-repetition-a-comparative-study-of-academic-and-non-academic-consequences.pdf

Manacorda, M. 2006. Grade Failure, Drop out and Subsequent School Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence. from Uruguayan Administrative Data. Retrieved from: https://www.cemfi.es/ftp/pdf/papers/wshop/Manacorda.pdf

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). 2011. PSIA in Focus. When students repeat grades or are transferred out of school: What does it mean for education systems. Paris: OECD. Retrieved from: https://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/pisainfocus/48363440.pdf

UNESCO. 2012b. Stumbling blocks to universal primary education: Repetition rates decline but dropout rates remain high. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-all/single-view/news/stumbling_blocks_to_universal_primary_education_repetition/

Improving student learning

Schools should focus on ensuring that there is early intervention, to meet with wider access to pre-primary programmes which facilitate school readiness (for more information consult Policy page School readiness).

Depending upon the national education policy, the ideal pupil-teacher ratio should be stipulated. This would result in increasing classrooms and individual attention paid to each student would benefit. Additionally, governmental organisations should invest resources in ensuring proper coursework assessment and evaluation (for more information consult Policy page Student learning assessments).

There should be provisions of daily supervised and personalised study time for each student, as and when difficulties are detected. Additional tutoring should be set up by the school, which is more individualised and targeted according to the student’s needs. There should also be a provision for these students to re-take the exams at the end of the support period.

Group assignments must be given more importance during classes. The grouping of students should be done according to similar learning characteristics, which would help in addressing the difficulties that are detected during classroom teaching.

Finally, it is important to target geographical areas with a socially disadvantaged population and areas with high rates of out-of-school students.

References
Brophy, J. 2006. Grade Repetition. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO and IEA (The International Academy of Education). Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000152038

GomesNeto, J.B.; Hanushek, E.A. 2010. Causes and Consequences of Grade Repetition: Evidence from Brazil. Retrieved from: http://na-11-5.static.avantel.net.mx/Ceducativa/CartillaB/6antologia/antecedentes/pdf/40.-%20CAUSES%20AND%20CONSEQUENCES%20OF%20GRADE%20REPETITION%20-%20EVIDENCE%20FROM%20BRAZIL.pdf

Haidary, A. 2013. Controversy over Grade Repetition: Afghan teachers’ View on Grade Repetition. Retrieved from: https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:695166/FULLTEXT01.pdf

Ikeda, M.; Garcia., E. 2014. Grade Repetition: A comparative study of academic and non-academic consequences. Paris: OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Retrieved from: https://www.oecd.org/economy/grade-repetition-a-comparative-study-of-academic-and-non-academic-consequences.pdf

Manacorda, M. 2006. Grade Failure, Drop out and Subsequent School Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence. from Uruguayan Administrative Data. Retrieved from: https://www.cemfi.es/ftp/pdf/papers/wshop/Manacorda.pdf

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). 2011. PSIA in Focus. When students repeat grades or are transferred out of school: What does it mean for education systems. Paris: OECD. Retrieved from: https://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/pisainfocus/48363440.pdf

UNESCO. 2012b. Stumbling blocks to universal primary education: Repetition rates decline but dropout rates remain high. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-all/single-view/news/stumbling_blocks_to_universal_primary_education_repetition/

Improving school leadership and teaching

It is important to ensure that there is effective teacher collaboration and participation from the teachers for a more appropriate curriculum design.

Regular in-service teacher training should be implemented. The government should aim to modernise technological infrastructure in schools and incorporate the use of ICT during the teacher training sessions. There should also be a lifelong training programme for the teachers, which links continuing professional development to career progression and aims are improving the quality of education.

High-performing students should be attracted to the teaching profession by implementing a pre-service teacher training and certification programme.

The responsibilities of the administration staff and the teachers should be clearly identified and monitored, to ensure accountability of performance. This also means there should be more stringent admissions criteria for teachers’ education programmes, which should be updated on a yearly basis.

There should be a teacher appraisal system. This system should aim at targeting three main dimensions of teaching (OECD, 2011):

  • scientific and pedagogic;
  • participation in school life and relationship with the community; and
  • continuing training and professional development.
References
Brophy, J. 2006. Grade Repetition. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO and IEA (The International Academy of Education). Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000152038

GomesNeto, J.B.; Hanushek, E.A. 2010. Causes and Consequences of Grade Repetition: Evidence from Brazil. Retrieved from: http://na-11-5.static.avantel.net.mx/Ceducativa/CartillaB/6antologia/antecedentes/pdf/40.-%20CAUSES%20AND%20CONSEQUENCES%20OF%20GRADE%20REPETITION%20-%20EVIDENCE%20FROM%20BRAZIL.pdf

Haidary, A. 2013. Controversy over Grade Repetition: Afghan teachers’ View on Grade Repetition. Retrieved from: https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:695166/FULLTEXT01.pdf

Ikeda, M.; Garcia., E. 2014. Grade Repetition: A comparative study of academic and non-academic consequences. Paris: OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Retrieved from: https://www.oecd.org/economy/grade-repetition-a-comparative-study-of-academic-and-non-academic-consequences.pdf

Manacorda, M. 2006. Grade Failure, Drop out and Subsequent School Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence. from Uruguayan Administrative Data. Retrieved from: https://www.cemfi.es/ftp/pdf/papers/wshop/Manacorda.pdf

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). 2011. PSIA in Focus. When students repeat grades or are transferred out of school: What does it mean for education systems. Paris: OECD. Retrieved from: https://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/pisainfocus/48363440.pdf

UNESCO. 2012b. Stumbling blocks to universal primary education: Repetition rates decline but dropout rates remain high. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-all/single-view/news/stumbling_blocks_to_universal_primary_education_repetition/

Policy options for improving Equity and Inclusion

Gender-responsive policies

The following policy options can be implemented as a complement to those cited in the general section of the present Policy page, which apply for this section as well. 

Promising policy options

Monitor repetition rates, disaggregate data by sex

Comprehensive data collected by UIS-UNESCO reveals that over the years repetition rates have decreased worldwide, yet, boys’ repetition rates remain slightly higher than those of girls. Since this situation is context-based, each country should have a clear picture concerning their own repetition rates, for that matter it is essential to:

  • collect, manage, analyse and monitor education data, including repetition rates;
  • disaggregate data by sex; and
  • track and identify trends overtime in order to target policy measures accordingly.

*For more information consult the indicators ‘percentage of repeaters in primary education, all grades, both sexes’, ‘percentage of repeaters in primary education, all grades, female’ and ‘percentage of repeaters in primary education, all grades, male’ at UIS-UNESCO webpage.

References
GPE (Global Partnership for Education), UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). 2017. Guidance for Developing Gender-Responsive Education Sector Plans. Washington D.C.: The Global Partnership for Education. Retrieved from: https://www.globalpartnership.org/content/guidance-developing-gender-responsive-education-sector-plans

Ministry of Education of Rwanda; UNICEF. 2017. Understanding Dropout and Repetition in Rwanda: Full Report. Kigali: Ministry of Education of Rwanda. Retrieved from:   http://www.rencp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/DROPOUT-STUDY-FULL-REPORT.pdf

UIS-UNESCO. n.d. Education. Accessed 26 October 2019: http://data.uis.unesco.org.

Perform a gender analysis

Identify entrenched gender factors that hinder the learning process, and thus lead certain children to fall behind.

Concerning boys, higher repetition rates may be due to (UNESCO-Global Education Monitoring Report, 2018):

  • entrenched gender-norms and biased expectations which lead to boys’ disengagement in schools; and
  • opportunity costs, since boys tend to enter the workforce earlier than girls. This may cause irregular attendance and subsequently lead into grade repetition (or even drop-out).

Performing a context-based gender analysis is of utmost importance to ensure that the policy options selected to target the pertinent population and their specific needs.

References
GPE (Global Partnership for Education), UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). 2017. Guidance for Developing Gender-Responsive Education Sector Plans. Washington D.C.: The Global Partnership for Education. Retrieved from: https://www.globalpartnership.org/content/guidance-developing-gender-responsive-education-sector-plans

Robertson, S.; Cassity, E.; Kunkwenzu, E. 2017. Girls’ Primary and Secondary Education in Malawi: Sector Review. Final Report. Camberwell: ACER (The Australian Council for Educational Research) and UNICEF  (United Nations Children’s Fund). Retrieved from:  https://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1031&context=monitoring_learning

UNESCO-Global Education Monitoring Report. 2018. Achieving gender equality in education: don’t forget the boys, Policy Paper 35. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000262714

Gender-responsive measures to tackle-down grade repetition

Introduce gender-responsive interventions to tackle-down grade repetition and underachievement (particularly among the most economically disadvantaged families). Raise awareness on the value of education for all children and address socio-cultural barriers that devalue girls’ or boys’ education.

Teachers should:

  • become aware of their own gender-related attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, and expectations;
  • be fair and supportive; and
  • implement gender-responsive pedagogies (e.g. target boys’ reading skills).

Avoid early tracking and streaming: Studies reveal that ‘students who are placed in classrooms with other students of lower academic ability may suffer further from negative peer effects, stereotyping and loss of self-esteem and motivation, which may place them on a permanently lower trajectory of learning’ (UNESCO-Global Education Monitoring Report, 2018: 9).

Enhance a gender-responsive, positive, welcoming environment by:

  • address gender stereotypes in school which inhibits the learning process of students; and
  • build constructive environments that decrease disciplinary practices, such as banning class entry, suspension, and expulsion, that force students to fall behind by inhibiting the provision of learning opportunities.

*For more information consult Policy page School climate.

Address all issues of school-related violence. Due to entrenched gender-norms, boys are more likely to experience corporal punishment than girls, leading to school disengagement (e.g. this is the case in schools in Mongolia and India (UNESCO-Global Education Monitoring Report, 2018)).

*For more information consult Policy page School violence.

Provide economic incentives, such as implementing conditional and unconditional cash transfers, stipends, bursaries, subsidies, scholarships and/or school fee waivers programmes, providing school supplies, free uniforms, and other resources, subsidizing or providing free transportation, and promoting school feeding programmes. For example, Uganda’s school feeding programme reduced boys’ repetition rates by 20 percentage points (UNESCO and UNGEI, 2015).

References
EACEA Eurydice (Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency). 2010. Gender Differences in Educational Outcomes: Study on the Measures Taken and the Current Situation in Europe. Brussels : European Commission, Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. Retrieved from : https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/40271e21-ca1b-461e-ba23-88fe4d4b3fd4

Ministry of Education of Rwanda; UNICEF. 2017. Understanding Dropout and Repetition in Rwanda: Full Report. Kigali: Ministry of Education of Rwanda. Retrieved from:   http://www.rencp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/DROPOUT-STUDY-FULL-REPORT.pdf

UNESCO-Global Education Monitoring Report. 2018. Achieving gender equality in education: don’t forget the boys, Policy Paper 35. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000262714

UNESCO, UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). 2015. Gender and EFA 2000-2015, Achievements and Challenges: Gender Summary. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://www.ungei.org/234809E.pdf

Policies for children with disabilities

Promising policy options

National-level policies to tackle down repetition of children with disabilities

Studies reveal that welcoming children with disabilities in inclusive mainstream settings –which are adequately prepared and equipped to respond to the needs of all children, including children with disabilities– can increase school attendance and retention, as well as decrease class repetition and drop-out. This is the case in Albania where inclusive quality mainstream settings exist. Out of 303 children with disabilities enrolled in mainstream settings in the city of Peshkopia, only one has repeated a grade (Poni, 2017).

Allocate resources to meet the needs of all children and improve the quality of the education system. Instead of investing financial resources on grade repetition (e.g. the cost of grade repetition in Latin America in the year 2000 amounted to 5.6. billion US dollars (UNESCO, 2009c),) resources should be adequately targeted at improving the quality of education for all (teacher training, the supply of inclusive and accessible teaching and learning material, learning aids, additional support schemes, etc.).

Prevent grade repetition by clearly defining the cases in which repetition is an appropriate measure. Clear policy related to grade repetition should be implemented at a national, local and school-level (for more information see policy recommendation in the general section of the present Policy page).

Monitor grade repetition rates for children with disabilities. There is limited data concerning the exact repetition rates of children with disabilities within mainstream settings (and specialized centres).

Collect data concerning repetition rates, disaggregating it by sex and disability (specify the type of disability) (UNICEF, 2014). For this purpose, the following questionnaires can be integrated into the data collection system:

  • The Washington Group set of questions (for specific information consult the webpage and related resources at Washington Group on disability statistics, 2016a).
  • The module on Child Functioning developed by the Washington Group and UNICEF (to access the questionnaire, consult: UNICEF, 2016).

Analyse the data and mobilize it to design context- and evidence-based solutions to the issue of repetition of children with disabilities. Use the monitoring data to identify children with disabilities and special needs who may be at risk of repetition.

References
Brophy, J. 2006. Grade Repetition. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO and IEA (The International Academy of Education). Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000152038

Ministry of Education of Rwanda; UNICEF. 2017. Understanding Dropout and Repetition in Rwanda: Full Report. Kigali: Ministry of Education of Rwanda. Retrieved from:   http://www.rencp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/DROPOUT-STUDY-FULL-REPORT.pdf

Singal, N.; Malik, R. 2018. Disability Data for Effective Policy Design: Reflections from the Teach Project in Pakistan. Blog – Washington Group. Accessed 24 October 2019: http://www.washingtongroup-disability.com/disability-data-effective-policy-design-reflections-teach-project-pakistan/

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2014. Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation: Webinar 14 – Companion Technical Booklet. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/eca/sites/unicef.org.eca/files/IE_Webinar_Booklet_14.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2016. Module on Child Functioning: Questionnaires. Accessed 28 October 2019: https://data.unicef.org/resources/module-child-functioning/

Washington Group on disability statistics. 2016. Short Set of Disability Questions. Accessed 28 October 2019: http://www.washingtongroup-disability.com/washington-group-question-sets/short-set-of-disability-questions/

Build partnerships

Stakeholder engagement is of key importance when it comes to building inclusive mainstream settings and ensuring children with disabilities progress within the education system.

Parents’ or guardians’ active involvement is an essential factor to avoid pupils’ repetition. Schools and teachers should create and maintain close relationships with the parents of all children, and specially of those who have disabilities. Culturally-based sensitivities must be taken into consideration so that parents feel comfortable and welcomed in the school.

Ensure communication in the native language of the parents. If teachers do not speak that particular language, find volunteers in the community who could work as translators.  Provide accessible and inclusive instructional materials to support the learning process of their child at home.

Involve community members, mobilize available resources to tackle down repetition rates. Promote ‘school-to-school collaboration’ so that they can innovate, share resources and expertise to build inclusive systems and tackle down repetition rates of children with disabilities. Use specialized centres as resource centres to support mainstream schools that are transitioning into an inclusive setting.

*For more information consult Policy page School community relationship.

References
Ainscow, M.; Dyson, A.; Hopwood, L.; Thompson, S. 2016. Primary Schools Responding To Diversity: Barriers And Possibilities. York: Cambridge Primary Review Trust. Retrieved from : https://cprtrust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Ainscow-report-160505.pdf

Ainscow, M.; Miles, S. 2008. ‘Making Education for All inclusive: where next?’. In: Prospects, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp. 15-34. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11125-008-9055-0
Brophy, J. 2006. Grade Repetition. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO and IEA (The International Academy of Education). Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000152038

UNESCO. 2005c. Guidelines for inclusion: Ensuring access to education for all. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001402/140224e.pdf

UNESCO. 2017a. A guide for ensuring inclusion and equity in education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002482/248254e.pdf

Believe in children’s capacity to learn

Schools, teachers, family, and community members must believe in children’s ability and capacity to learn.

Setting low expectations due to a learning difficulty or disability may hinder the learning process of the child as well as his or her motivation to learn. Therefore, it is essential to have a positive attitude towards students with disabilities as well as the same kind of expectations for all students. All children, including children with disabilities, should be encouraged to progress in and throughout the education system.

References
Esaaba Mantey, E. 2014. Accessibility to inclusive education for children with disabilities: a case of two selected areas in Ghana. Dissertation for the award of philosophy of Doctorate Degree. Siegen: University of Siegen. Retrieved from: https://d-nb.info/1068362936/34

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2018c. Brief 3: Effective and appropriate pedagogy. Accessed 1 April 2018: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/improve-learning/teachers-and-pedagogy/effective-and-appropriate-pedagogy

Improving student learning

Early detection and prevention of learning difficulties and of disabilities include strategies such as :

  • Early childhood interventions (from 0 to 6 years old). This is not only the most cost-effective, but can also produce the most long-lasting effects on children with disabilities (Save the Children, 2002).
  • Quality, accessible Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) provide the opportunity to detect multiple disabilities in a timely manner (IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2018) (use of screening tools).
  • Ensuring wider access ECCE programmes will lead to school readiness and in the long run it will contribute to keeping children, especially those with disabilities, within the education system.  

*For more information consult Policy page School readiness.

Foster a welcoming, inclusive, safe and positive environment. Encourage the socio-emotional well-being of all children, while promoting a culture of support.

*For more information consult Policy page School climate.

Provide individual assistance and support to all of the students (with and without disabilities) (Florian, 2016). Carefully plan this support so that it does not lead to segregating certain children within the classroom, but rather helps all children to fully and actively participate along with the rest of their peers.

Teachers can spend time with individual students needing extra assistance while the rest of the class is working in groups. This can be accomplished through peer-tutoring, older students assisting, combining classes with other teachers, volunteers who assist students, work with resource or specialist teachers, provide summer school programmes, or by extending the number of hours of instruction.

Develop Individual Education Plans (IEP) to closely track progress, identify children who are at risk of repetition, and provide the necessary support. Develop “referral pathways” so that teachers, schools, and parents can effectively support the learning process of those children and thus ensure their progression within the system (Ministry of Education of Rwanda and UNICEF, 2017).

*For more information consult Policy page Individual learning needs.

References
Brophy, J. 2006. Grade Repetition. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO and IEA (The International Academy of Education). Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000152038

Florian, L. 2016. ‘Inclusive Pedagogy in Scotland: from theory to practice’. Presented at the Conférence de Comparaisons Internationales – Ecole inclusive pour les élèves en situation de handicap, 28-29 January 2019. Retrieved from: http://www.cnesco.fr/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/10_Florian.pdf

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2018. Early childhood education. Accessed 15 August 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/improve-learning/learners-and-support-structures/early-childhood-education

Ndaruhutse, S. 2008. Grade repetition in primary schools in Sub-Saharan Africa: an evidence base for change. Reading: Education Development Trust (formerly CfBT Education Trust). Retrieved from: https://www.academia.edu/1049782/Grade_repetition_in_primary_schools_in_Sub-Saharan_Africa_an_evidence_base_for_change

Save the Children. 2002. Schools for All: Including disabled children in education. London: Save the Children. Retrieved from: http://www.eenet.org.uk/resources/docs/schools_for_all.pdf

UNESCO. 2001. Open File on Inclusive Education: Support Materials for Managers and Administrators. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000125237

Ministry of Education of Rwanda; UNICEF. 2017. Understanding Dropout and Repetition in Rwanda: Full Report. Kigali: Ministry of Education of Rwanda. Retrieved from:   http://www.rencp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/DROPOUT-STUDY-FULL-REPORT.pdf

Inclusive education within mainstream settings

In order to prevent students with disabilities repetition and/or dropout, mainstream settings must be adequately equipped and prepared to cater for their needs. Teacher training must be redesigned or adapted so that teachers have the necessary skills to meet the needs of all children. Help teachers to develop inclusive values and attitudes and support teachers to gain the necessary knowledge regarding inclusive education and inclusive pedagogy.

*For more details consult Policy pages: Teacher content knowledge and Teaching skills.

Ensure that all teaching methods and classroom practices are accessible.

*For specific policy recommendations consult the Policy page Classroom practices.

Plan lessons having all students in mind.

*For more information consult Teacher guides and lesson plans.

Ensure that all learning and teaching materials, the curriculum and the learning assessments are flexible and accessible.

* For more information consult the following Policy pages: Textbook availability and content, Curriculum development, Student learning assessments, and Individual learning needs.

Ensure appropriate and sufficient provision of teaching aids as well as assistive devices.

* For more information consult the Policy page Availability of teaching aids.

Ensure that the language of instruction provided is appropriate.

* For more information, consult the Policy page Language of instruction.

References
Ainscow, M. 2019. The UNESCO Salamanca Statement 25 years on Developing inclusive and equitable education systems. Discussion paper prepared for the International Forum on inclusion and equity in education – every learner matters, Cali, Colombia, 11-13 September 2019. Retrieved from: https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/2019-forum-inclusion-discussion-paper-en.pdf

Brophy, J. 2006. Grade Repetition. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO and IEA (The International Academy of Education). Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000152038

Cheshire, L. 2019. Inclusive education for persons with disabilities – Are we making progress? Background paper prepared for the International Forum on inclusion and equity in Education – Every learner matters, Cali, Colombia, 11-13 September 2019. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000370386?posInSet=11&queryId=8251b10e-fda6-4bf5-a11e-a077d7076fa4

Esaaba Mantey, E. 2014. Accessibility to inclusive education for children with disabilities: a case of two selected areas in Ghana. Dissertation for the award of philosophy of Doctorate Degree. Siegen: University of Siegen. Retrieved from: https://d-nb.info/1068362936/34

UNESCO. 2009c. Policy guidelines on inclusion in education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0017/001778/177849e.pdf.

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2014. Teachers, Inclusive, Child-Centred Teaching and Pedagogy: Webinar 12 – Companion Technical Booklet. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/eca/education

Policies for displaced populations and host communities

All policies recommended in the general section apply to this category.

Other policy options

Eliminating language barriers

Evidence from linguistically diverse countries worldwide shows that children taught first in their most familiar language are more likely to thrive and excel in school. Studies have also found that children who start formal education in a second or foreign language are more likely to repeat school years.

Eliminating language barriers means fewer children drop out/get pushed-out of school. Children who start formal education in a second or foreign language are much more likely to experience frustration and failure, resulting in higher dropout/push-out rates for these children. Worldwide, some 50 percent of out-of-school children use a language at home that is not the language used in school.

Integrate language and subject learning from an early grade (OECD 2015). Integrating migrant students into the mainstream classes from the beginning of the school cycle produces better outcomes when they are provided with preparatory language classes. It is important to offer additional language classes separate from the school course work.

Assist teachers in identifying students who require language training (OECD 2015). Countries such as Denmark and Germany, monitor and assess children from preschool age in their language abilities.

Invest in Early Childhood Education

It is important to expand access to high-quality early childhood education and care programmes. Furthermore, it is encouraged to do so from the youngest age possible.

Invest resources into making a tailor-made pre-school programme which is well suited to displaced/migrant students, and establish an efficient monitoring system to track the quality of early childhood education and care programmes.

References
OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). 2015. Helping Immigrant students to succeed at schools-and beyond. Paris. Retrieved from : https://www.oecd.org/education/Helping-immigrant-students-to-succeed-at-school-and-beyond.pdf

Plan International. 2017. The right to inclusive, quality education. Woking: Plan International. Retrieved from: https://plan-international.org/publications/inclusive-quality-education

UNESCO. 2016. Global Education Monitoring Report Gender Review: Creating Sustainable Futures for All. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000246045

UNESCO. 2018. Ensuring the right to equitable and inclusive quality education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000251463?posInSet =6&queryId=9e5cc75d-0a13-40b6-b696-45c01bdec668

UNESCO. n.d. Enforcing the right to education of Refugees: Policy perspective. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000146931?posInSet=22&queryId= 71a0a70a-ea47-49f4-88f3-9c737d27f0ca

Reduce grade repetition and early tracking for eliminating inequalities

Tracking is a system that affects immigrant students’ progress through schooling. Early tracking of students into academic or vocational programmes assists in increasing inequalities in the school system because students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to end up in “lower” tracks.

Due to the unfamiliarity of the host community education system faced by immigrant parents, there is a possibility of choosing courses that might not best suit their child.

Reduce or eliminate the use of ability grouping and grade repetition and instead identify students who are struggling and offer assistance in the form of additional course training or language training.

References
OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). 2015. Helping Immigrant students to succeed at schools-and beyond. Paris. Retrieved from : https://www.oecd.org/education/Helping-immigrant-students-to-succeed-at-school-and-beyond.pdf

Plan International. 2017. The right to inclusive, quality education. Woking: Plan International. Retrieved from: https://plan-international.org/publications/inclusive-quality-education

UNESCO. 2016. Global Education Monitoring Report Gender Review: Creating Sustainable Futures for All. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000246045

UNESCO. 2018. Ensuring the right to equitable and inclusive quality education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000251463?posInSet =6&queryId=9e5cc75d-0a13-40b6-b696-45c01bdec668

UNESCO. n.d. Enforcing the right to education of Refugees: Policy perspective. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000146931?posInSet=22&queryId= 71a0a70a-ea47-49f4-88f3-9c737d27f0ca

Policies for minority populations

*All policies recommended in the general section apply to this category.

Promising policy options

Decentralising policies and financial investment

It is important to increase decision-making at sub-national levels. Municipalities should be entrusted with more responsibilities, such as:

Finances should be directed towards policy reforms that aim at improving learning outcomes in schools. This could include reforms such as increasing instruction time in schools, teacher professionalism and improving the quality of education.

References
European Commission. 2017. Education and Training Monitor 2017. Spain. Directorate-General for Education and Culture.  Retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/education/sites/education/files/monitor2017-es_en.pdf

International Journal of Education Development. 2015. What works to improve the quality of student learning in developing countries? Serena Masino. Miguel Nin˜o-Zarazua.  Retrieved from: https://ac.els-cdn.com/S0738059315300146/1-s2.0-S0738059315300146-main.pdf?_tid=9fd26ffd-b880-4738-a5ea-495311c2e550&acdnat=1528432689_88edbe8a8fde2e1bb964f2c7c5e70d9e

OECD. 2014. Education Policy Outlook. Portugal. Retrieved from: http://www.oecd.org/education/EDUCATION%20POLICY%20OUTLOOK_PORTUGAL_EN.pdf

Overseas Development Institute. 2014. Improvements in the quality of basic education: Chile’s experience. J Wales. A Ali. S Nicolai. F Morales. D Contreas. Retrieved from:   https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/9067.pdf

Right to Education. 2017. Monitoring the Right to Education Using Indicators. Retrieved from: http://www.right-to-education.org/monitoring/content/repetition-rate

UIS-UNESCO. 2012. Opportunities Lost: the impact of grade repetition and early school leaving. Global Education Digest 2012. Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/opportunities-lost-the-impact-of-grade-repetition-and-early-school-leaving-en_0.pdf

UIS-UNESCO. 2015. Apia Office. Pacific Education for All 2015 review. Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/pacific-education-for-all-2015-review-en_1.pdf

OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). 2015. Helping Immigrant students to succeed at schools-and beyond. Paris. Retrieved from : https://www.oecd.org/education/Helping-immigrant-students-to-succeed-at-school-and-beyond.pdf

UIS-UNESCO. GPE. Hewlett Foundation. 2016. Understanding what works in oral reading assessments: Recommendations from donors, implementers and practitioners. Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/understanding-what-works-in-oral-reading-assessments-recommendations-from-donors-implementers-and-practitioners-2016-en_3.pdf

World Bank. 2013. Improving the Quality, Efficiency and Access to basic Education in Djibouti. Results. Retrieved from: http://www.worldbank.org/en/results/2013/05/20/improving-the-quality-efficiency-and-access-to-basic-education-in-djibouti

World Bank. 2017. Improving Public Education and the Use of Public Resources in the State of Pernambuco, Brazil. Retrieved from: http://www.worldbank.org/en/results/2017/04/11/improving-public-education-and-the-use-of-public-resources-in-education-in-the-state-of-pernambuco-brazil

Student Assessment/Evaluation

According to the World Bank, the learning level is categorised into 4 categories, which are:

  • non-readers:  Students unable to read any words correctly in the first (and easiest) row of the text;
  • readers without comprehension: Students able to read some words correctly, but unable to answer any reading comprehension questions correctly;
  • readers with some comprehension: Students able to read some words correctly, but able to answer three or fewer (out of five) reading comprehension questions correctly; and
  • readers with high levels of comprehension: Students able to read most of the words correctly, and able to answer four or five (out of five) reading comprehension questions correctly.

There should be regular assessments for the students to identify the categories they fall into, in order to provide the right intervention needed for them to improve their learning levels. It is important to identify low performers and design a tailored policy strategy (OECD 2016).

Subjects such as mathematics, which has been shown to be the most difficult subject to grasp in OECD countries and the developing countries, should have a more interesting and comprehensive way of teaching, so as to make the learning more interesting and long-lasting.

References
OECD. 2016. Low-Performing Students: Why They Fall Behind and How To Help Them Succeed. Paris: OECD Publishing. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264250246-en. The Key Findings – https://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/PISA-2012-low-performers-Spain-ENG.pdf

OECD. 2016. PISA 2015 Results (Volume I). Paris: OECD Publishing. Retrieved from: https://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisa-2015-results-in-focus.pdf

World Bank. Reducing Early Grade Drop Out and Low Learning Achievement in Lao PDR. Retrieved from:   http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/lao/publication/reducing-early-grade-drop-out-and-low-learning-achievement-in-lao-pdr

Increase the demand for education for those who perceive education to have a low value

Governments should address the high indirect costs incurred by households. This can be done by introducing scholarships, stipends, cash transfers or subsidized education. Conditional cash transfers, based on conditions such as attending school has proven to increase school enrolment and retention rates.

Governments/municipalities should continue to increase the number of schools and improve the quality of education by hiring more qualified teachers and ensuring school materials are available for students.

References
World Bank. Reducing Early Grade Drop Out and Low Learning Achievement in Lao PDR. Retrieved from:   http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/lao/publication/reducing-early-grade-drop-out-and-low-learning-achievement-in-lao-pdr

UIS-UNESCO. 2012. Opportunities Lost: the impact of grade repetition and early school leaving. Global Education Digest 2012. Retrieved from:  http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/opportunities-lost-the-impact-of-grade-repetition-and-early-school-leaving-en_0.pdf

UIS-UNESCO. 2017. More Than One-Half of Children and Adolescents Are Not Learning Worldwide. Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/fs46-more-than-half-children-not-learning-en-2017.pdf

UNESCO. n.d. The Drop out problem in Primary Education. Some Case Studies. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0006/000623/062375eo.pdf

Improving the learning environment

It is important to create a more demanding and supportive environment at school. This can be done by providing remedial support as early as possible. Furthermore, encouraging the involvement of parents and local communities help in better understanding what the students would respond to positively. Create an environment that inspires students to make most of the available resources and opportunities.

It is important to create policies that reduce inequalities in access to early education and limit the use of student sorting. Schools should tackle gender stereotypes and create a more inclusive environment by offering special programmes for immigrants, minority language speakers, rural students and also provide assistance to single-parent families.

*For more School community relationship, and School climate.

Teacher behaviour/Motivation

The quality of education is largely depended on how the course material is taught in school. This reflects the behavior and motivation of the teachers. For more information see the Policy pages: Teacher Behavior, Teacher guides and lesson plans, Availability of teaching aids, Teacher deployment, Teacher retention and Teacher incentives.

References
Jonathan Paul Casey. 2014. Understanding High Dropout rates in Primary School Education in Mozambique. Linnnaeus University. Masters’ Thesis. MSc Peace & Development Work. Retrieved from:   https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:732524/FULLTEXT01.pdf

JSTOR. Learner and Instructional Factors Influencing Learning Outcomes within a Blended Learning Environment. Retrieved  from:
http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/jeductechsoci.12.4.282.pdf?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Paul Mupa. TI Chinoneka. 2015. Factors contributing to ineffective teaching and learning in primary schools: Why are schools in decadence? Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1079543.pdf

Pratham’s Read India. Taking Small Steps in Learning at Scale. Sruti Bandyopadhyay. Retrieved from:   http://www.globaldeliveryinitiative.org/library/case-studies/pratham%E2%80%99s-read-india-taking-small-steps-learning-scale ; Case Study – https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/FINAL-Read-India-Case-Study.pdf

World Bank. 2016. Reducing Early Grade Drop Out and Low Learning Achievement in Lao PDR. Retrieved from:   http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/lao/publication/reducing-early-grade-drop-out-and-low-learning-achievement-in-lao-pdr

UIS-UNESCO. 2012. Opportunities Lost: the impact of grade repetition and early school leaving. Global Education Digest 2012. Retrieved from:  http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/opportunities-lost-the-impact-of-grade-repetition-and-early-school-leaving-en_0.pdf

UIS-UNESCO. 2017. More Than One-Half of Children and Adolescents Are Not Learning Worldwide. Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/fs46-more-than-half-children-not-learning-en-2017.pdf

UNESCO. n.d. The Drop out problem in Primary Education. Some Case Studies. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0006/000623/062375eo.pdf

World bank. 2016. Reducing Early Grade Drop Out and Low Learning Achievement in LAO PDR: Root causes and Possible Interventions. Retrieved from: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/161641483590757065/pdf/111627-REVISED-PUBLIC-Lao-PDR-Root-Causes-of-Early-School-Leaving-f.pdf

Updated on 2021-09-24

Related Articles

Back to top