School & District Management Report Roundup

Grade Promotion

By Madeline Will — January 06, 2015 1 min read
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The practice of requiring students who don’t make sufficient academic progress to repeat a grade in school steadily declined from 2005 to 2010, new research shows.

The study on grade retention was published last month in Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association. Researchers tracked nationwide retention trends in 1st through 9th grades from 1995 through 2010.

The overall retention rate peaked in the 2004-05 school year at 2.9 percent, but by 2009-10, it had fallen to 1.5 percent. The retention rate fell for all groups of students, and decreases were strongest in student groups that used to have the highest retention rates, including boys and minority students.

Study author John Robert Warren of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities said the drop may stem from earlier research that found mixed evidence that retention leads to more learning but consistent evidence that it leads to higher dropout rates.

A version of this article appeared in the January 07, 2015 edition of Education Week as Grade Promotion

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