Behind the Headline: Bills Prod Schools to Hold Back Third-Graders

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Bills Prod Schools to Hold Back Third-Graders
Wall Street Journal | 2/13/12

Behind the Headline
Getting Ahead by Staying Behind
Education Next | Spring 2006

Efforts to end social promotion are on the legislative agenda in at least four states, reports Stephanie Banchero in the Wall Street Journal. Legislation that would make students repeat third grade if they can’t pass state reading exams is being considered in Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico, and Tennessee, she writes, reviving debates about whether retaining students boosts achievement or increases their odds of dropping out. In 2006, Ed Next published a study by Marcus Winters and Jay Greene, “Getting Ahead by Staying Behind,” that reviewed the efforts of several states and school districts to end social promotion and analyzed the impact of Florida’s policy of requiring low-performing students to repeat a grade. The study found that ending social promotion helped low-performing students make modest improvements in reading and substantial improvements in math. In 2005, Alexander Russo wrote about how Chicago preserved its controversial program to end social promotion in “Retaining Retention.”

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