Social Promotion in schools

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 4 10:05:08 UTC 2013

I should clarify--I did not mean to imply that the phrase was not in use
earlier (clearly, it's been in circulation for close to 50 years by
then), but that there must have been a vector that cause the usage to
explode, because it became quite common in that period. Since it was a
big topic of discussion at HGSE, it must have been a fairly new debate,
although I can't tell you what caused it specifically.


On 12/4/2013 5:01 AM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
> I'm sure the practice dates back quite far, but if it was a normal
> state of affairs, there might not have been a need for a special word
> or phrase. Late 1980s sounds about right from my experience (Harvard
> GSE 1989-90 certainly was all abuzz about "social promotion" and its
> associated evils/benefits). The point is, the terminology has been
> coined in order to either boost it or criticize it. In other words,
> someone in the field decided that merely promoting kids from one grade
> to the next along with their peers was a bad idea and started
> differentiating between "earned" promotion and "social promotion" (I'm
> being only mildly facetious regarding the "earned" part).
>     VS-)
> On 12/3/2013 7:41 PM, Benjamin Torbert wrote:
>> How long has it been called that?  My student is writing a paper and
>> can't
>> find a reference earlier than the late 1980s, even though the practice
>> dates back to the 19thC.
>> BT

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list