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Promotion/RetentionSelected Research & Readings (Additional Resources)
What States Are Doing
Selected Research & Readings

Postsecondary Academic Affairs--Developmental/Remediation/Placement
Scheduling/School Calendar--Extended Day Programs
Scheduling/School Calendar--Summer School
Student Achievement--Closing the Achievement Gap

Getting Farther Ahead by Staying Behind: A Second-Year Evaluation of Florida’s Policy to End Social Promotion - This study analyzes the effects of Florida’s test-based promotion policy on student achievement two years after its initial retention. The report finds that retained Florida students made significant reading gains relative to the control group of socially promoted students and that these academic benefits grew substantially from the first to the second year after retention. The report also discusses previous research on discretionary retention and test-based retention. Additionally, the report compares Florida's policy to one in Chicago which has yielded different results, arguing that the results in Chicago are the result of differences in the two policies. (Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters, The Manhattan Institute, September 2006) ...

Sorting Out Student Retention: 2.4 Million Children Left Behind? - It is estimated that 2.4 million students per year were retained in U.S. schools during the late 1990s. This policy brief looks at some of the challenges around retention and presents a number of related policy considerations for addressing those challenges. The brief examines some of the known risk factors for retention, California's approach to retention and compares different groups of low-achieving students. (C. Ryan Kinlaw, Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University, Fall 2005)...

Ending Social Promotion: Dropout Rates in Chicago after Implementation of the Eighth-Grade Promotion Gate - This study compares the dropout rates in Chicago before and after implementation of the 1995-96 high-stakes testing policy that required students to meet a minimum score on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills before being promoted to high school. Those who fail either repeat the 8th grade or move into new schools called "transition centers." The author finds that the implementation of this policy was not accompanied by a massive rise in overall dropout rates as some had feared, nor did overall dropout rates decline substantially despite considerable increases in student achievement. (Elaine Allensworth, Consortium on Chicago School Research, March 2004)...

Grade Retention: Prevalence, Timing and Effects - This study investigates the consequences of grade retention on student academic progress and social and emotional development. The report finds that when students are retained, classroom organization, academic content and teaching approaches often do not differ significantly between the regular school year and the retained year. While the study found some benefits to students from being retained, overall such students continue to perform inadequately. (Nancy L. Karweit, Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk, 1999) ...

High Stakes: Testing for Tracking, Promotion and Graduation - This study focuses on the use of tests to make “high-stakes” decisions regarding individual students. The report finds that promotion and retention are really only two of many strategies available to educators when test scores and other information indicate that students are experiencing serious academic difficulty. According to the report, neither strategy by itself is an effective treatment for low achievement. (National Research Council, 1999) ...

Taking Responsibility for Ending Social Promotion: A Guide for Educators and State and Local Leaders - This report contends that social promotion and retention are ineffective policies and that policymakers must take a more comprehensive approach to improving student achievement. Such an approach might include increased emphasis on early childhood literacy, providing summer school for students who are not meeting academic standards, reducing class sizes especially in the primary grades, strengthening professional development for teachers and extending learning time through before- and after-school programs and tutoring. (U.S. Department of Education, 1999) ...

The Grade Retention vs. Social Promotion Trap: Finding Alternatives that Work - This manual is designed to educate school board members on issues related to retention and social promotion. It offers an introduction to the issues and attempts to summarize what research says about the effectiveness of promotion/retention practices. In addition, the manual provides an overview of available strategies for assisting low-performing students. (Lisa A. Banicky and Helen K. Foss, Delaware Education Research and Development Center, 1999) ...

Social Promotion and Students with Disabilities: Issues and Challenges in Developing State Policies - This study looks at existing and emerging state policies on social promotion to determine the extent that students with disabilities are included or excluded. Analysis showed that policies varied considerably in terms of the bases for promotion decisions, but that all states used test performance as the primary basis for decisions. To provide remedial coursework to students, most states relied on summer school, extended-day or after-school programs. (Rachel F. Quenemoen, Camilla A. Lehr, Martha L. Thurlow, Sandra J. Thompson and Sara Bolt, National Center on Educational Outcomes, Synthesis Report #34, June 2000)...

Critical Issue: Beyond Social Promotion and Retention: Five Strategies To Help Students Succeed - This issue brief from the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL) discusses research findings that social promotion and retention polices are ineffective in improving student performance. The brief offers five alternative strategies to help students succeed. (Debra Johnson, NCREL, 2001)...

Finding Alternatives to Failure: Can States End Social Promotion and Reduce Retention Rates? MS Word - Using data from the 16 member states of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), this report analyzes the negative consequences of social promotion – for both the student and the community – and presents several strategies for helping struggling students reach and remain at grade level. (David R. Denton, SREB, January 2001)...

Selected Research & Readings Current

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