Administrative Procedure 222

Administrative Guidelines for Retention of Students


Grade retention in younger grades is often used as an educational intervention, primarily based on teacher beliefs that retention is an effective means of preventing failure in the next grade. Retention is a strong predictor of high school withdrawal rates (3 times greater chance of dropping out).

The best educational interests of the student are the paramount considerations in the exercise of any authority under the Education Act. The parents have a right and responsibility to make decisions respecting the education of their children and Principals must ensure that students in the school have the opportunity to meet the standards of education set by the Minister.

At the high school level or for students in Grades 10 – 12 student promotion is determined by successful completion of courses not grades. The principal is responsible to ensure each course or program of study’s requirements, as set by Alberta Education, are met.


  1. Grade retention is when a child/student is recommended to remain at his/her current grade level for two consecutive years.
  2. Students at-risk of academic failure typically include young students who are below grade level in the core subject areas, are chronic non-attenders, and/or appear to be disengaged and unmotivated in the classroom.

Administrative Guidelines

  1. Students identified as at-risk of academic failure, or who are not meeting grade level learner outcomes, should be flagged and provided appropriate school-based interventions based on classroom and curriculum-based assessments.
  2. Students flagged to be at-risk must be identified to the school principal by the November and April progress or reporting period.
  3. Parents must be informed, in writing following a conference/meeting with the principal and teacher, of their child being considered at risk of academic failure.  Parents should be provided information on the school-based and/or home-based intervention plan to support their child.
  4. A parent meeting must be held following the first and third progress or reporting period.  Home-based strategies to support parents to work with their child at home should be provided to the parents.
  5. Regular, ongoing monitoring of the student’s response to interventions provided is required as per the Division’s Levels of Assessment for Intervention (see Student Services Handbook, page 14).
  6. By June 1st of each school year, the name of each student recommended for grade retention shall be provided to the Principal.
  7. Teachers’ professional judgment to recommend retention must be supported by ongoing assessment and response to intervention data. This data must be available upon request.
  8. Parents must be provided information on the local process to appeal a school-based decision in accordance with Division policy and administrative procedures as a decision to support the retention of any student is appealable to the Superintendent and Board of Trustees.
  9. In the event a parent requests that their child be retained, the parents should be asked to put their request in writing to the principal and provide the rationale.  When parents make such a request, the above steps shall be followed.
  10. In the event the school principal supports a request that a child be retained, who is under 6 years of age as of September 1st of each year, the principal needs to ensure parents have a clear understanding that the child will not receive base funding and the education program provided will not funded by Alberta Education.  Be aware that a partial year of programming is considered a whole year of programming by Alberta Education so staff must plan carefully when approving registration for children who are 3 or 4 years of age on September 1st of each school year as funding may not be received.
  11. It is the responsibility of the principal (or designate) to ensure all children enrolled in the school’s Early Childhood Development Program or Kindergarten meet funding eligibility.
  12. Please refer to Provincial Funding Manual and Early Childhood Services Age of Eligibility requirements for children under 6 years.

Documentation required:

The process of supporting a teacher’s recommendation for a child/student currently in Kindergarten to Grade 9 to be retained in that same grade in the following year is determined on the principal’s review of the following information:

  1. Documentation of the extent of child/student achievement gap in relation to the learner outcomes expected in the provincial program of study and current level of achievement at the end of the current school year.
  2. Student assessment and response to intervention data to support recommendation.
  3. Details of meetings and reports to parents specifically reporting student progress as per Division policy and administrative procedures (i.e., regular report cards) that clearly document parents were informed of lack of progress.
  4. Results of the effectiveness of interventions provided to the student (e.g., measuring effectiveness of literacy support, pull out program, homework program, etc. will be needed).
  5. Other data appropriate to support the teacher’s recommendation for grade retention.
  6. The above data should be documented using the Division’s School-based Intervention Form (see Student Services Handbook, Appendix A).


February 19, 2020




Section 18 Education Act

Early Childhood Services Regulation

Guide to Education: ECS to Grade 12

Section 1, 2 Canadian Charter of Rights

Student Services Handbook

Funding Manual For School Authorities

Early Childhood Services Age of Eligibility Guide

Cross References:

AP 360 Student Assessment Evaluation and Reporting

AP 390 Student Appeals

AP 422 Role of the Teacher

AP 430 Role of the Principal