Leadership Symposium Early Bird Deadline Approaching | Join K-12 leaders nationwide for three days of empowering strategies, networking, and inspiration! Discounted pricing ends March 1. Register today.

Grade Retention

Education news, analysis, and opinion about holding students back for a year in school, including the practice of “redshirting”
Image of a student walking with a backpack on.
Collage via iStock/Getty
Student Achievement What the Research Says Keeping Younger Students Back a Grade Shows Benefits Over Time, Study Finds
New longitudinal research shows reading and math benefits for retaining younger students who need more time.
Sarah D. Sparks, October 13, 2023
4 min read
Hispanic school teacher reading aloud to her young students
E+/Getty
Reading & Literacy 3rd Grade Reading Retention: Why the Research Is Complicated
Retention laws are common—about half of the states in the country have a policy. They’re also controversial.
Sarah Schwartz, August 29, 2023
5 min read
Reading & Literacy Webinar Reading and Retention Mandates: Is it Effective?
Learn how states are overhauling how reading is taught, and why one component—holding back students who aren’t reading on grade level—is among the most controversial requirements.
August 28, 2023
Photo from behind of a mother with her arms around her son and daughter who are both wearing school bookbags.
E+
Student Achievement The Sibling Effect: How Retaining Struggling Readers Impacts Brothers and Sisters
A 2002 Florida law that requires struggling readers to repeat a grade also affected their siblings, a study finds.
Lydia McFarlane, August 9, 2023
3 min read
Young elementary children laying on the floor reading books with a bookshelf behind them.
iStock/Getty
Student Achievement 3rd Grade Reading Retention: Three Recent Developments
New research on the impact of retention is complicating states' approaches to retaining 3rd graders who aren't yet proficient.
Sarah Schwartz, April 28, 2023
3 min read
Students read an Earth Day coloring book in Claire Martin's kindergarten class as part of Earth Day activities on April, 22, 2022, at the Discovery Enrichment Center in Benton Harbor, Mich.
Students read an Earth Day coloring book in Claire Martin's kindergarten class on April, 22, 2022, at the Discovery Enrichment Center in Benton Harbor, Mich.
Don Campbell/The Herald-Palladium via AP
Reading & Literacy Michigan's 3rd Grade Retention Law Held Back More Black and Low-Income Students
Parents' advocacy and ability to navigate exemptions might explain the difference, new research finds.
Sarah Schwartz, April 14, 2023
5 min read
Young boy reading book at a desk with his head in his hands.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Student Achievement What Does Research Say About Grade Retention? A Few Key Studies to Know
Does holding students back help or hurt them in the long run?
Sarah Schwartz, November 2, 2022
4 min read
Image of a girl selecting a book in the library.
Hakase_/iStock/Getty
Reading & Literacy Third Grade Reading Retention Is Back. Should It Be?
Does requiring struggling students to repeat 3rd grade lead to better reading results? It's complicated.
Sarah Schwartz, October 21, 2022
8 min read
The Mississippi Department of Education offices are seen in Jackson, Miss. on March 19, 2020. The state's board of education decided this winter that it would suspend the retention policy for third graders this year, allowing all students to pass on to the fourth grade even if they fail the standardized reading test.
The Mississippi Department of Education offices are seen in Jackson, Miss. The state's board of education decided this winter that it would suspend the retention policy for 3rd graders this year, allowing all students to pass on to the 4th grade even if they fail the standardized reading test.
Rogelio V. Solis/AP
Reading & Literacy Pandemic Prompts Some States to Pass Struggling 3rd Graders
As families wrestle with online learning, a pandemic economy and mental health difficulties, some states are delaying 3rd grade retention.
Aallyah Wright, Stateline.org, June 7, 2021
8 min read
RESET SERIES 2 Illustration
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty Images
How to Help Students Recover From a Broken Year
What schools do to help students bounce back from stress, trauma, and disrupted schooling—and whether retention helps or hurts kids.
May 24, 2021
Mia Halthon's daughter, Terra Jones, has struggled with remote learning. Pictured here in their Detroit, Mich., home on May 21, 2021.
Terra Jones, 11, a Detroit 5th grader, has struggled with remote learning all year. Her mother, Mia Halthon, is weighing whether to have Terra repeat 5th grade out of concern that she's not ready to move onto 6th grade.
Valaurian Waller for Education Week
Student Achievement From Our Research Center Tens of Thousands of Students May Have to Repeat a Grade. Should They?
The prospect of a spike in retentions flies in the face of a broad-based consensus that moving students ahead is usually more effective.
Catherine Gewertz, May 24, 2021
8 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
iStock/Getty
Assessment Why Schools Are Not Holding Students Back to Address COVID-19 Learning Loss
District leaders cite evidence that retention doesn’t improve academic outcomes, and argue that holding large groups of students back will disproportionately hurt students of color and kids from low-income families.
Sarah Schwartz, June 18, 2020
6 min read
Federal Third Grade Retention of ELLs: New Research Sparks Furor
New research that suggests struggling English-learners could benefit from repeating 3rd grade is drawing strong pushback from scholars.
Corey Mitchell, March 5, 2019
6 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Getty
English-Language Learners Opinion Don't Be Too Quick to Retain English-Language Learners
The researchers behind a splashy new study join two policy experts to urge great caution before holding back ELLs.
Rebecca Callahan, David Figlio, Madeline Mavrogordato & Umut Ozek, February 28, 2019
4 min read