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Ending Social Promotion: The Effects of Retention

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Publication Date: March 2004

Publisher(s): Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago

Author(s): Jenny Nagaoka; Melissa Roderick


Special Collection: The Joyce Foundation

Topic: Education (Education policy and planning)
Education (Teaching methods)
Education (Education personnel and population)

Keywords: education; school policy

Type: Report

Coverage: Illinois


In the first of its two reports on the effects of ending the policy of social promotion, the Consortium on Chicago School Research finds students held back in the eight years since Chicago Public Schools declared an end to social promotions have generally not been helped by the policy.

Retained students often did not meet the standards for promotion even after their second consecutive year in a grade and nearly one-fifth of all retained third and sixth graders were placed in special education within two years of the retention decision. Students who were held back in third grade did not benefit from being held back, compared with low-achieving students who were promoted to fourth grade, the study found.