Grade Retention

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
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
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
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
Eduwonkette, January 29, 2008
3 min read
Federal King Nears D-Day: Who Moves On, Who Stays Back?
Midyear at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School brings an intense focus on students’ reading skills and readiness for Louisiana’s high-stakes exams.
Lesli A. Maxwell, January 28, 2008
3 min read
Student Achievement Report Roundup Student Retention
Students retained for a year under Florida’s test-based promotion policy slightly outperformed students with similar test scores who were promoted to the next grade in previous years, according to a study.
Katie Ash, October 2, 2007
1 min read
Student Achievement N.Y.C. to Retain Low-Scoring 5th Graders
New York City school leaders, who only months ago withstood intense criticism for holding back 3rd graders who failed city tests, have announced that the program was so successful they plan to expand it to 5th grade.
Catherine Gewertz, September 21, 2004
3 min read