School Psychology Review

Does the Timing of Grade Retention Make a Difference? Examining the Effects of Early Versus Later Retention

Benjamin Silberglitt, Shane R. Jimerson, Matthew K. Burns, James J. Appleton

pp. 134-141

General Issue

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Abstract. Research examining the effectiveness of grade retention has provided overwhelming and seemingly irrefutable evidence that grade retention is an ineffective and potentially harmful practice. However, proponents of grade retention often advocate that retention in the early elementary grades (e.g., kindergarten,first and second grade) is the justified exception. This longitudinal study examined the reading growth trajectories of students (n =49) from first through eighth grade. Hierarchical linear modeling analytic procedures provided novel insights regarding the relative reading growth trajectories among retained students,comparing those students retained in kindergarten through second grade with those students retained in Grades 3–6. The results revealed that the growth trajectories of students retained early (Grades K–2) were comparable to those retained later (Grades 3–5). These findings failed to support the efficacy of retention at an earlier grade in elementary school.