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Promotion/RetentionSelected Research & Readings
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Postsecondary Academic Affairs--Developmental/Remediation/Placement
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Student Achievement--Closing the Achievement Gap

Retention in the Early Years: Is Early Retention an Effective, Research-Based Strategy for Improving Student Outcomes? - Questions have been raised about the research to support state and local policies that require retention for young students. Educators, policymakers, and researchers find it difficult to reach consensus on this issue, particularly when young children are concerned. This brief provides a review of the literature on the effects of early retention and discusses why retention is a nuanced rather than definitive research-based approach to enhancing outcomes. (Jim Squires, Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO), August 2015)...

Achievement at Whose Expense? A Literature Review of Test-Based Grade Retention Policies in U.S. Schools - Although some studies have documented average gains in academic achievement resulting from test-based retention, the author argues there is increasing evidence these gains have occurred by limiting the educational opportunities of the most vulnerable students. Short-term gains produced by test-based retention policies fade over time with students again fall behind but with a larger likelihood of dropping our of school. Instead he advocates for professional development and increased instruction time. (Andrew P. Huddleston, Education Policy Analysis Archives, April 2014)...

Is Retaining Students in Early Grades Self-Defeating? - With substantial evidence indicating future educational struggles for those children who don't acquire basic reading skills by third grade, Martin West discusses the effectiveness of policies that retain students and provide them with intensive remedial interventions versus those that promote students to keep them with their peers. (Center on Children and Families at Brookings, 2012)...

Does Money Buy Strong Performance in PISA? - In this brief, the authors find that the success of a countryís education system depends more on how educational resources are invested than on the volume of investment, especially among high-wealth countries. Findings indicate that the strongest performers among high-income countries and economies tend to invest more in teachers and in high expectations for all of their students....

When Students Repeat Grades or Are Transferred Out of School: What Does It Mean for Education Systems? - Does repeating a year in school help students? Not according to this OECD analysis. Grade repetition does not happen in Finland and Korea, the best performing countries in the PISA tests. Countries where students repeat grades tend to have worse results overall. Students pay the price in terms of losing networks of friends and facing negative perceptions in new schools. Transferring students tends to be associated with socio-economic segregation in school systems. (OECD Publishing, July 2011) ...

Grade Retention: Whatís the Prevailing Policy and What Needs to be Done? - This brief provides a quick overview of issues related to grade retention and frames directions for policy and practice in ways that go beyond retention and social promotion. The report argues that "[n]either grade retention nor social promotion are recipes for narrowing the achievement gap or reducing dropouts. It is time for policy that doesnít 'wait for failure;' itís time for a policy that doesnít react in ways that end up being more punitive than corrective." (Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA, July 2006) ...

Ending Social Promotion: The Effects of Retention - This report examines whether retention had a positive impact on studentsí achievement growth. The authors found little evidence that low-performing 3rd-grade students who were retained did better than their counterparts who were promoted. At the 6th-grade level, the study says retention was detrimental to student achievement growth. The report represents the culmination of a six-year study on Chicago's efforts to end social promotion. (Jenny Nagaoka and Melissa Roderick, Consortium on Chicago School Research, March 2004)...

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