Hold Back to Move Forward? Early Grade Retention and Student Misbehavior

Author(s): 

Test-based accountability has become the new norm in public education over the last decade. In many states and school districts nationwide, student performance on standardized tests plays an important role in high-stakes decisions such as grade retention. This study examines the effects of grade retention on student misbehavior in Florida, which requires students with reading skills below grade level to be retained in the 3rd grade. The regression discontinuity estimates suggest that grade retention increases the likelihood of disciplinary incidents and suspensions in the short run, yet these effects dissipate over time. The findings also suggest that these short term adverse effects are concentrated among economically disadvantaged and male students.

Published: 
Apr 2013