The research is mixed. Some reviews (of the many studies on retention or promotion) have shown little benefit for retention in grade 3 compared with social promotion to grade 4. For example, a 2017 review looked at the results of Florida’s “A+ plan,” begun by Jeb Bush when he was governor. Little benefit has been found for the retained students.
Other reviews have shown that retention in the primary grades correlated with dropping out in high school. Nevertheless, some students who don’t pass a grade 3 reading test (for promotion to grade 4) do go on to grade 4 after submitting a portfolio, taking an alternative assessment, and/or attending a special summer school session and thereby qualifying for promotion to grade 4, even though they still may not do grade 4 work adequately. The quality of the work these low achievers do may depend on whether upper elementary teachers can group them for skills work in their self-contained classrooms. School or state policies may forbid grouping practices in the teaching of reading, especially in elementary school.
Unfortunately, neither promotion nor retention has solved the problem of low reading achievement, it seems.
Jeb, huh? Sounds like No Child Left Behind era garbage. It’s too bad that major investments weren’t made in vocational education, alongside vocation-friendly trade policies.