Can You Get Held Back in 6th Grade?

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We often start worrying about getting held back in high school in later years; being afraid of failing a course or two and having to repeat the whole year is a scary concept for many. However, many wonder if you can get held back in 6th grade. However, it’s a pretty rare occasion, as there is always something you can do about it to avoid getting held back.

Even though it’s an infrequent occasion, it does occasionally happen. That’s mainly due to some fundamentally missing characteristics that your kid is not exhibiting. Hence, if the school recommends a repeated grade, it’s often much better and healthier for your kid.

This article will discuss everything you need to know about the potential of getting held back (also known as retention). That includes different reasons why your kid is being held back, what to do about it, and what failing the grade entails.

What Causes Student to Be Held Back?What Causes Student to Be Held Back?

If your kid is failing 6th grade, he is potentially facing the chance of getting held back. Hence, if the school suggests repeating the year, we recommend you trust them on it. That’s because schools do not often inflict such harsh decisions on their students unless necessary.

So, your kid is probably not retaining all the fundamental academic skills required to progress through the different grades. If that’s the case, it’s always a much better decision to repeat the year and help them through every step.

Here are some general causes and reasons to hold a child back in school:

  • Immaturity: this can be either social immaturity or personal immaturity. If your kid isn’t exhibiting the necessary skills to function optimally throughout the school years, he might face retention.
  • Illness: we’re not talking about the common flu; if your kid has been seriously ill for a chunk of the school year, then repeating the school year is necessary.
  • Insufficient learning: if your kid is not performing well enough in their exams, it’s a sign that he’s not retaining the vital information through the classes. There’s always a specific academic level you should reach to move on to the next school year.

There’s a law in some states, known as the third-grade retention law, requiring students to repeat the grade if they cannot read at a specific level. While rare, it makes absolute sense as kids cannot function through school if they cannot read their course books.

What is a Failing Grade in 6th Grade?

What is a Failing Grade in 6th Grade?

There isn’t one set system that all schools follow, but there is a general Middle School Traditional Grading Scale. If your child is failing 6th grade due to poor course performance, he probably scored an F on too many classes.

A failing grade is equivalent to an “F” anywhere in the world. While a “D” or “D-“ is frowned upon, at least it means you’re passing your course, right?

However, we all have that internal freak-out if we receive an “F” on any exam, let alone get that grade in one course at the end of the semester.

A failing grade in 6th grade often signifies an overall score between 0-59 out of 100. That means you got a little higher than half the grade on all your exams.

How Many Fs Does It Take to Fail 6th Grade?

How Many Fs Does It Take to Fail 6th Grade?

The number of courses or classes you can fail with an “F” varies according to your school’s system. However, schools generally don’t want a 6th grade held back. Honestly, do you think a school would like to have any student in the same year for longer than they are mandated to do?

Hence, ask around in your school if you’re afraid of failing too many classes. The typical amount you would have to get an “F” before being considered to be held is anywhere between 3-5 courses. That entirely depends on the school.

But think again; why are you afraid of failing too many classes? If you’re intentionally not studying or throwing your education out of the window. The school often tells the parents about the child’s behavior and study life if they see poor performance. They don’t ever hold someone without thoroughly talking to the parents.

Can a 6th Grader Be Held Back?

Can a 6th Grader Be Held Back?

The straightforward answer is yes. Anyone can be held back in any year of school. However, it’s not often the case. Even if you are doing poorly in middle school, schools do not want to put you through all that again.

For instance, legally speaking, public schools cannot hold you back for more than two years. Hence, there are always other options and solutions to poor performance or any physical problem you might be facing.

Moreover, generally speaking, being held back does not affect their mental health. Imagine you as a child being held back at such an early age and missing out on going through school life with your friends.

It never works well for anyone. More often than not, the kids rebel and act out. We generally recommend you send them to therapy if they’re having personal issues. For instance, if your child faces a repeated year, talk to them through it.

Moreover, figure out what the root cause is. Is it about their school life? Is it related to life at home? Or maybe they’re generally not interested in their academic life, which will be a massive problem in later years in their lives.

What Happens When a Student is Held Back?

What Happens When a Student is Held Back?

If you’re getting held back in school, then the next year will not be a piece of cake for you. You will most probably be faced with numerous obstacles, and it means it was vital for you to go through the whole year again.

So what should you expect if you’re being held back? Well, it’s not like college where you can repeat one course or summer school to repeat the course you failed. Getting held back in school means you will have to repeat the entirety of that specific grade.

You will most likely take all the same classes. Now, you should make sure things go differently for you this time. Figure out what the problem was the first time around and address it head-on. Make sure you’re fixing the minor issues you had, whether academic or personal.

The problem with schools forcing retention if failing is that numerous students drop out instead of repeating the course. That mainly happens out of frustration and lack of motivation. Hence, talk to a counselor and figure out what the issue could be and how to solve it.

However, it’s not all black. There are pros and cons of holding a child back in school, and some of them are as follows:


  • Repeating a grade to be much more capable of the academics taken during that year – will increase your kid’s confidence.
  • If your kid has been ill for a big part of the academic year, then repeating a course will allow him to catch up on missed information.
  • If your child is experiencing stress due to school-related issues, tackling them head-on during that year will help him grow.
  • If the child is younger than his classmates, fitting into an environment more his speed would help him grow.


  • If the reason for retention is absences, then the student is at a higher risk of wanting to drop out.
  • If your kid is already struggling with bullying or fitting in, being held back could make it worse.
  • The emotional toll and guilt that it could take on the child could create more issues that need to be tackled.
  • If the kid is opposed to staying back, then repetition will result in rebellious behavior.

What Happens if You Fail a Class in 6th Grade?

What Happens if You Fail a Class in 6th Grade?

If you fail one class in 6th grade, you’re most likely to be safe from any consequences. Schools do not like to keep anyone in a loop, and most would provide the utmost support to tackle your issues and figure out how you’re struggling academically.

However, not all students are gifted in all academic topics. Hence, failing one class is often not a huge issue, as you usually would need to mess up around 3-5 courses to be subjected to retention.

Wrapping Things Up: Can You Get Held Back in 6th Grade?

In a gist, anyone can get stuck in one specific grade. Some people are even faced with the problem of repeating 1st grade, which is often due to personal issues such as illnesses or poor retention of information. However, it’s such a far-fetched possibility. No one should neglect their studies and mess around because they know they cannot be held back.

Instead, the only way to avoid repeating the same year and missing out on being with your friends is to focus on your current issues. For instance, talk to a counselor or your parents if you’re struggling due to personal problems. Moreover, if you’re finding difficulty with one specific topic, reach out to a teacher. Trust us on this; no school wants to see their students fail.

> Can You Get Held Back in 8th Grade?

> Can You Get Held Back in 7th Grade?

> Negative Effects of Holding a Child Back in School

> How Many Classes Do You Have to Fail to Repeat a Grade in Middle School

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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