Education A National Roundup

Retention of Chicago Students Dips to Lowest Level in 8 Years

By John Gehring — September 13, 2005 1 min read

The number of students being retained in the Chicago public schools has reached its lowest level since the district ended “social promotion” eight years ago.

Of the 23,896 students who were required to attend summer school this year, the district reported, only 27 percent were required to repeat a grade. That was down from the previous low of 29 percent of students in 2001.

Chicago public school leaders cited improved academic performance and policy changes as reasons for the lower rates of student retention. Last year, the 431,000-student district stopped using mathematics-test scores as part of retention decisions, and ended a policy that allowed students to be held back more than once in a single grade. Decisions to retain students are now based on whether their reading scores have fallen behind grade level.

A version of this article appeared in the September 14, 2005 edition of Education Week