Grade Retention

Education news, analysis, and opinion about holding students back for a year in school, including the practice of “redshirting”
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 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/Getty
School & District Management 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
Reading & Literacy Should 3rd Grade Be the Pivot Point for Early Reading?
New research calls into question the widespread practice of retaining students in 3rd grade based on their reading proficiency.
Sarah D. Sparks, May 11, 2015
9 min read
From left, 2nd graders Love Shama Georges, Tiffany Argueta, Maria Vega, and Daniella Bonilla work during a reading-intervention class at Highland Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md.
From left, 2nd graders Love Shama Georges, Tiffany Argueta, Maria Vega, and Daniella Bonilla work during a reading-intervention class at Highland Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md.
T. J. Kirkpatrick for Education Week
Reading & Literacy Early Grades Crucial in Path to Reading Proficiency
States press to ensure that students from kindergarten on get the literacy support they need to meet 3rd grade reading milestones.
Christina A. Samuels, January 3, 2015
7 min read
Student Achievement Districts Weigh Student Retention With Stigma of Being 'Held-Back'
Many districts, including Los Angeles Unified, are not on board with a national push to end social promotion, and instead use mastery of material to determine whether students should move to the next grade.
Molly Callister & The Hechinger Report, August 19, 2014
11 min read
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iStockphoto.com
States Opinion Holding Kids Back Doesn't Help Them
At a time when more states are moving to retain struggling students in lower grades, research shows that such efforts are counterproductive, Deborah Stipek and Michael Lombardo say.
Deborah Stipek & Michael Lombardo, May 20, 2014
5 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Luis Diaz
Early Childhood Opinion How Serious Are We About Early Learning?
Children need a serious commitment from schools and policymakers to support early-learning efforts, Barbara O'Brien writes.
Barbara O'Brien, October 9, 2012
6 min read
Student Achievement Opinion Really!?! Joel Klein
NYC's Panel for Education Policy voted tonight to require 8th graders to score above level 1 on reading and math tests and pass core courses in order to be promoted. Meanwhile, last week Joel Klein wanted to invest a hypothetical billionaire's bling in a research institute - "There are two things that I would do with this money. One, I would try to set up a national institute for educational policy that does serious research. This is an industry in which there are so many myths, and that’s because there are such large gaps in our knowledge right now."
Eduwonkette, March 17, 2008
1 min read
Student Achievement Opinion Social Promotion Rap Up
Yo yo yo
Word up to Dan Brown
Eduwonkette, January 30, 2008
1 min read
Student Achievement Opinion Guest Post: The Misleading Specter of "Social Promotion"
Let's give it up for guest blogger Dan Brown, the author of the Bronx teacher memoir, “The Great Expectations School: A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Jungle.” You can email him at danbrownteacher@gmail.com.
Eduwonkette, January 29, 2008
3 min read