Effects of Test-Based Retention on Student Outcomes
May 2, 2013: A growing number of U.S. states require that students who do not demonstrate basic reading proficiency at the end of the third grade be retained. This makes it possible to compare the future achievements of students with comparable literacy levels, who have a significantly reduced probability of retention due to minimal differences in their test score. In CESifo Working Paper 4203 Guido Schwerdt and Martin R. West use this as a basis to test the effect of retention on future school performance. The empirical analyses are conducted on the basis of administrative school data from the U.S. state of Florida. The paper concludes that retention in the third grade improves future student achievements and reduces the probability of retention recurring in higher grades. The effect sizes, however, were found to shrink over time.