Schools Out, But Not for Everyone

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Bryan and College Station school kids are saying goodbye to the classroom and hello to summer.

It's the last day of school for many students, but for others this summer will mean back to the books.

They're still struggling to pass a test that could make the difference in moving forward ... or staying behind.

A child's life is supposed to be care-free, but high-stakes testing could land them back on the same playground.

One year older but a year behind their playmates.

"We want them to be successful, we want them to be confident in their skills," said Linda Maddin, Bryan ISD Executive Director of Instruction and Assessment.

Madden says some kids will spend the dog days of summer at a 20-day program to help them pass the TAKS test.

And it's three strikes and you're out.

"When we hit that second administration and have some that aren't successful we intervene and hope that when they are finished they will have mastered what they need to pass," said Madden.

But if a student can't pass the test a third time -- state law says they'll have to repeat the grade level.

However, state law also says a grade placement committee made up of parents, the principal and the child's teacher could decide otherwise.

"They meet and they discuss that child individually. So a grade placement committee could reverse that decision based on that child's needs," said Madden.

If a child only missed passing the test by points, they could be promoted -- or if the child has been held back before -- they could be promoted to catch up.

But what if the child needs to be held back to redo a grade?

"We don't want any child to have missing gaps in their educational career. And if we continue to move them forward and they are not showing mastery of the grade level skills, we're robbing those children of the opportunity to have the best education possible," said Madden.

College Station also puts kids through an aggressive summer training program for a third chance to pass.

And while educators say there's no clear evidence that promoting a child or holding them back is effective, Intervening to get them the help they most need gets proven results.