The United States spends $20 billion each year when some 2 million students repeat a grade, andin the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness suggests doing so may not help academically.
Researchers used national data to compare the middle-school reading achievement of students who were held back in grades 1 or 2 and students who were demographically and academically similar but who were not retained. They found, across multiple analyses, that students who had been held back performed significantly worse in reading in middle school, compared to those who had not been held back. The study found no good or bad effects in math or social-emotional development for the students held back in early years.
A version of this article appeared in the January 23, 2019 edition of Education Week as Grade Retention