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J Educ Psychol. 2012 Aug;104(3):603-621.

Trajectories of Math and Reading Achievement in Low Achieving Children in Elementary School: Effects of Early and Later Retention in Grade.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Arizona State University.

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of retention or promotion in first grade on growth trajectories in mathematics and reading achievement over the elementary school years (grades 1-5). From a large multiethnic sample (n = 784) of children who were below the median in literacy at school entrance, 363 children who were either promoted (n = 251) or retained (n = 112) in first grade could be successfully matched on 72 background variables. Achievement was measured annually using Woodcock-Johnson W scores; scores of retained children were shifted back one year to permit same-grade comparisons. Using longitudinal growth curve analysis, trajectories of math and reading scores for promoted and retained children were compared. Retained children received a one year boost in achievement; this boost fully dissipated by the end of elementary school. The pattern of subsequent retention in grades 2, 3 and 4 and placement in special education of the sample during the elementary school years is also described and their effects are explored. Policy implications for interventions for low achieving children are considered.

PMID:
23335818
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3547658
Free PMC Article
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