NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Effects of Test-based Retention on Student Outcomes over Time: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Florida

Guido Schwerdt, Martin R. West, Marcus A. Winters

NBER Working Paper No. 21509
Issued in August 2015, Revised in April 2017
NBER Program(s):Economics of Education

Many American states require that students lacking basic reading proficiency after third grade be retained and remediated. We exploit a discontinuity in retention probabilities under Florida's test-based promotion policy to study its effects on student outcomes through high school. We find large positive effects on achievement that fade out entirely when retained students are compared to their same-age peers, but remain substantial through grade 10 when compared to students in the same grade. Being retained in third grade due to missing the promotion standard increases students' grade point averages and leads them to take fewer remedial courses in high school but has no effect on their probability of graduating.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21509

Published: Guido Schwerdt & Martin R. West & Marcus A. Winters, 2017. "The effects of test-based retention on student outcomes over time: Regression discontinuity evidence from Florida," Journal of Public Economics, vol 152, pages 154-169.

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