ERIC Number: ED449241
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Retention and Social Promotion: Research and Implications for Policy. ERIC Digest Number 161.
Thompson, Charles L.; Cunningham, Elizabeth K.
This digest highlights major research findings about social promotion, retention, and programs that identify and assist students at risk of retention. Research findings indicate that, overall, neither social promotion nor retention offers lasting advantage nor leads to high performance. Some evidence supports, and little evidence disputes, the indictment of social promotion. Retention is common; census data suggest that as many as thirty percent of all students have been retained at least once by the time they reach high school. By high school, the retention rates are ten percentage points higher for boys than for girls and fifteen points higher for African Americans and Hispanics than for Whites. Research suggests that retention can help sometimes, but early retention is harmful. Overall, retention is risky, and it is clear that it is not cost effective. A recent policy instituted in Chicago schools bars social promotion but creates mechanisms, such as after-school programs and mandatory summer instruction, to assist students at risk for retention. Early research on the consequences of this policy indicates that most students made impressive standardized test score gains, with the largest gains made by students with the lowest prior scores. Students who were retained were not helped by the second pass through the grade they failed. Implications for policy are discussed. Chief among these are the suggestions that promotion gateways should not be introduced in the early grades, and that sound educational decisions require multiple assessments. (Contains 11 references.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Grade Repetition, High Risk Students, Identification, Social Promotion, Urban Schools
ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Box 40, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY 10027. Tel: 800-601-4868 (Toll Free); For full text: http://eric-web.tc.columbia.edu.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, New York, NY.