Published Online: August 21, 2012
Published in Print: August 22, 2012, as Literacy

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"Is Retaining Students in the Early Grades Self-Defeating?"

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Florida's policy to ensure that all students read proficiently by 3rd grade boosts achievement in later grades for students held back for low reading performance, a studyRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader by the Washington-based Brookings Institution concludes.

Study author Martin R. West, an assistant education professor at Harvard University, analyzed five years of performance data for Florida 3rd graders who scored just above and below the cutoff for bottom-level performance on state reading tests. Many students scoring below that level were retained in that grade and were offered supports such as summer school, highly effective teachers, and extra reading instruction.

Two years later, Mr. West found, the students singled out for help outperformed those who made the cutoff by more than a year's worth of academic progress.

Vol. 32, Issue 01, Page 5

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