Multimedia Case: Promotion vs. Retention

Image of Promotion or Retention Multimedia CaseSnapshot: This award-winning multimedia version of our case "Promotion vs. Retention" allows you to choose which role you'll play on the teaching team at Innovation Academy and includes a variety of multimedia resources to help you decide whether to promote or retain your student Ada. In making these decisions, how should educators balance professional integrity with their duty to support their most vulnerable students?


Case Description: Things start seeming to click for Adahuaris during her 8th grade year. Thanks to her own tremendous effort and the dedication of her teachers, Ada has spent hours after school each week catching up to where she needs to be. By the end of the academic year, however, it isn’t clear that her hard work will be enough to get her up to grade level and eligible for promotion to the next grade level. Although Ada would have the time she needed to master the 8th grade standards, given the statistics for over-age students being retained during middle school, not moving onto 9th grade with the rest of her class may well mean that Ada ends up dropping out of school entirely. What should her teachers do? Promote her despite her not having achieved anything close to grade level? Or hold her back for another year, effectively rolling the dice that she’ll stay on her upward trajectory against the odds?

This case centers on the dilemmas teachers face in making decisions about promotion and retention. How do teachers balance professional integrity with their duty to support their most vulnerable students? How do they make sure they treat all of their students with all of their different needs fairly? Especially as numerous states have started to reevaluate their promotion and retention policies, these issues are especially important for teachers as well as school leaders and policymakers to grapple with.

This multimedia case presents videos to help you learn more about Innovation Academy, about Ada, and about the options available for the teaching team as they decide whether or promote or retain her. You'll play a teacher, an administrator, or a guidance counselor as you cast your vote alongside the other members of the team. As you move through the case, you'll be prompted to think about which values are guiding your decisions, and you'll have the opportunity to reflect and record your thinking. The multimedia case takes approximately 45-60 minutes to complete.