ERIC Number: ED483835
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Mar
Ending Social Promotion: The Effects of Retention. Charting Reform in Chicago Series
Nagaoka, Jenny; Roderick, Melissa
Consortium on Chicago School Research
A central focus of this report is estimating whether retention had a positive impact in students' achievement growth. Evaluating the effect of retention means that the researchers have to find a comparison group of low-achieving students who might represent what would have happened if those students who failed to make the promotional cutoff had not been retained. In this report, the researches do this by comparing the achievement growth of third and sixth graders whose reading test scores fell just below the promotion cutoff in 1998 and 1999, the majority of whom were retained, to the achievement growth of two comparison groups: (1) students who had reading test scores just above the test-score cutoff in those years, the majority of whom were promoted; and (2) third graders in 2000 who had similar test scores just below the test-score cutoff but who were promoted because of changes in the administration of the policy. In general, students who have test scores within a narrow range around the test-score cutoff should be more similar in terms of their underlying achievement than students with either very low scores or achievement closer to the grade level. Results from the study indicate: in the third grade little evidence that students who were retained did better than their low-achieving counterparts who were promoted was found; retained students who were placed in special education after retention were struggling during their retained year and continued to struggle; and there is no evidence that mid-year promotions either helped or harmed students' tested achievement in basic skills. This report focuses on the question: Did retaining these low-achieving students help? The answer to this question is definitely no. In the third grade, there is no evidence that retention led to greater achievement growth for two years after the promotional gate, and in the sixth grade, the study found significant evidence that retaining students under CPS's promotional policy significantly increased the likelihood of placement in special education. Further analysis, recommendations, and an interpretive summary are included. Appended is: A Hierarchical Linear Model for Estimating Effects of Retention: The Third- and Sixth-Grade Models. (Contains 26 endnotes.) [Report also funded by a grant from The Frye Foundation.]
Descriptors: Grade 3, Reading Tests, Scores, Grade 6, Social Promotion, Academic Achievement, Comparative Analysis, Underachievement, Grade Repetition, Special Education
Consortium on Chicago School Research, 1313 East 60th St., Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 773-702-3364; Fax: 773-702-2010; Web site: http://www.consortium-chicago.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.; Joyce Foundation, Chicago, IL.; Department of Education, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Consortium on Chicago School Research, IL.