While reading scores are rising, only 26 percent of third-graders read on grade level.
“A Michigan law that would hold back third grade students who aren’t reading at grade level goes into effect in the fall,” notes Kebede. “With similarly low literacy rates, parents and district officials are worried a majority of Detroit youth will be held back.”
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia require third graders to be held back if they have weak reading skills, writes Casey Bayer in Usable Knowledge. Holding back second graders is unusual.
A new Harvard study found Florida’s third-grade retention policy led to short-term gains in reading and math achievement, writes Bayer. “Students who had been held back entered high school performing at a higher level relative to their grade level than similar students who’d been promoted,” needed less remediation, earned higher grades and were as likely to graduate.
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