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By Jennifer Sloan McCombs

The recent York urban division of schooling requested RAND to behavior an self sufficient longitudinal assessment of its 5th-grade advertising coverage. The findings of that research, performed among March 2006 and August 2009, supply a complete view of the policy1s implementation and its effect on pupil results, really for college kids susceptible to retention and people who have been retained in grade.

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Same-age comparisons generally suggested negative consequences of retention on student performance. Same-grade comparisons often yielded mixed findings, depending on other features of the research design, such as how long students were followed after retention. Studies using matched control groups of low-achieving but promoted students tended to find no academic benefit, or even negative impact on retained students (Holmes and Saturday, 2000; Karweit, 1999; Roderick, 1994; Tanner and Galis, 1997).

In other words, the comparison groups are in the same grade but are younger than the retained students at the time of the comparison. An example helps illustrate the differences between same-age and same-grade comparisons. Suppose a student is retained in 5th grade for one year. 1). , comparing B with A). Both outcomes are measured at the end of the 5th grade, but in two different years. , comparing B with F). 1 Illustration of Comparison Strategies Grade 5 Grade 6 Grade 7 A Year 1 Promoted Retained B C Year 2 F Retained Retained Promoted Promoted Year 3 G D E H Cohort 1 enters 5th grade in year 1.

1 Retention, in contrast, is a practice that holds back students who have failing grades or who fail to meet promotion criteria, which are often linked to standardized assessments. These “test-based” promotion policies typically use standardized tests as the main criterion to make high-stakes decisions about whether a student should be promoted to the next grade. The rationale behind promotion policies is that repetition of the grade will give students an additional year to master the academic content that they failed to master the previous year and that, “by catching up on prerequisite skills, students should be less at risk for failure when they go on to the next grade” (Shepard and Smith, 1990, p.

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