Students who repeat a grade outperform similar students who are promoted, conclude Jay Greene and Marcus Winters of the Manhattan Institute. Previous studies found repeaters lagged behind students who received social promotions, but didn’t account for all the factors teachers consider when deciding which low performer to hold back and which to promote. Greene and Winters looked at Florida third-graders who had to pass the state’s reading test to go on to fourth grade.
Students who performed below the required level and repeated third grade made significantly greater academic progress than similar students who were promoted despite their lack of skills. The benefit of being retained grew so that by the end of the second year the retained students entered fifth grade knowing more than the promoted students did leaving fifth grade — this despite the fact that the retained students had not yet been exposed to the fifth grade material.
A similar study in Chicago found retained students did no better or slightly worse than those who were promoted. The researchers suggest that how test-based promotion is implemented makes a difference in its effectiveness.
Via Constrained Vision.