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States to Take Aim at 3rd Grade Retention

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Elected officials in a couple of states are expected to take on one of the trickiest issues affecting elementary schools: how high to set the bar for allowing students to move from grades 3 to 4.

Governors in Iowa and New Mexico have proposed setting a reading skill level for students to advance beyond 3rd grade, an idea they hope their legislatures will take up as they convene this winter.

It's a proposal that a number of states have shown an interest in recently, though it's also a controversial one. Critics say flunking 3rd graders risks derailing their education at a young age, but supporters say the policies are needed to prevent students from simply being shuffled on to the next grade without regard for whether they're ready for the work—a practice they label "social promotion."

Vol. 31, Issue 15, Page 4

Published in Print: January 11, 2012, as States to Take Aim at 3rd Grade Retention
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