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GRAPHIC:  ResearchFig. 2

Windy City retention policy doesn’t make the grade

Efforts by the Chicago Public Schools to end social promotion have failed to help low-performing kids, according to new studies from the University’s Consortium on Chicago School Research. The nine-year-old retention policy holds back students who don’t achieve cutoff scores on standardized tests in the third, sixth, and eighth grades. They retake the exams in May and August (a January test was discontinued in 2001)—and upon passing rejoin their peers.

Even after multiple chances and summer school, many of the retainees had difficulty, with less than 60 percent reaching the cutoff in 1999. Further, nearly 20 percent of the third- and sixth-graders landed in special education two years later. Pupils repeating eighth grade, meanwhile, were more likely to drop out.—M.L.

IMAGE:  Fig.2
Graphic by Allen Carroll




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