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Pupil Promotion & Retention

Current law and information on pupil promotion and retention policies and related supplemental instruction programs.

Background Information

Origin and Philosophy

Pupil Promotion and Retention (PPR) policy requirements External link opens in new window or tab. for supporting struggling students entered California Education Code (EC) over three decades ago. As a result of concerns about “social promotion” of students who did not meet grade level standards, the goals behind these laws were to mandate all local education agencies to develop PPR requirements for second through twelfth grades and to specify the types of support for students who were in danger of failing.

With the passage of time, these laws became anchored in No Child Left Behind philosophy, focusing on scores from the California Standardized Testing and Reporting program and the California High School Exit Exam to provide evidence of student attainment of grade-level achievement. Categorical funding was provided by the legislature for supplemental instruction during non-school hours for students who were at risk of being retained or who were retained. With the passage of the Local Control Funding Formula, there have been changes in state policies which affect the implementation of PPR and remedial instruction for pupils at risk of being retained. However, even with those changes, the critical requirement that at-risk pupils be identified as early as practicable in the school year and in their school careers, and be provided remedial instruction, remains intact.  The changes are discussed below.

New Directions

In 2010, a confluence of educational changes began with the adoption of the California Common Core State Standards, which directly affected aspects of PPR and supplemental instruction implementation.

The following state policy changes specifically impacted PPR and supplemental instruction policies:

  • The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) replaced the K–12 finance system, eliminating revenue limits and multiple categorical funds. The LCFF replaces these funds with base, supplemental, and concentration grant funds, and requires each school district, county office of education, and charter school to adopt a Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) to address how it will expend LCFF funds to address specific state priorities, and any locally chosen priorities, to improve student achievement.
  • Supplemental Instruction (SI) was one of the many categorical programs rolled into the LCFF. Former EC Section 42239, which provided the funding formula for SI, was repealed by Senate Bill 73 in 2015. The SI requirements previously provided for by EC Sections 37352-37253.5 were also repealed in 2015 by Senate Bill 416. Districts and county offices of education continue to have the responsibility to provide remediation services to those students who are recommended for retention, as required by EC Section 48070.5(a). With the above changes in statute, they have discretion to determine appropriate interventions to address pupil achievement.
  • The state assessment system, California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, adopted in 2014, no longer provides summative assessment scores for second graders and emphasizes multiple indicators for judging student mastery of the more complex content standards for all grade levels.
  • California’s academic frameworks, guidelines for implementing the state’s content standards, emphasize integration of content areas, critical thinking, and tiered levels of support for all students, which occur best with thoughtful, layered assessment practices. This can be seen in the 2012-13 adoption of the Mathematics and English Language Arts/English Language Development Frameworks and the 2016 draft of the Science Frameworks.

Currently, the goal of supporting struggling students remains, but avenues for achieving it have expanded:

  • Early identification of the source of students’ barriers is detected through evidence and data collected through multiple assessments of learning.
  • Educational support teams can interpret the data and then select from a variety of exemplary research-based, integrated instructional approaches to assist students in attaining expected levels of academic achievement.
  • The funding for supplemental instruction is based on local decision-making processes through LCFF.

Frequently Asked Questions Link

Frequently Asked Questions — Pupil Promotion and Retention (Updated - 29 April 2016)

Educational Code Links

The following links are to pertinent California EC Sections:

EC Sections 48070-48070.5 External link opens in new window or tab. – Promotion and Retention

EC Sections 48000, 48010-11 – Kindergarten to First Grade

Questions: Roxane Fidler | rfidler@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-4861 
Last Reviewed: Thursday, April 28, 2016

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