Examining the effects of grade retention on student reading performance: A longitudinal study

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Grade retention is an intervention that has received increasing scrutiny as policies, practices, and results of research diverge. This longitudinal study examines the reading growth trajectories of students (n = 147) from first- through eighth-grade. Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) analytic procedures provide unique insights regarding the relative reading growth curves among retained students, similarly achieving but promoted students, and a random sample of students. The results revealed that retained students did not experience a benefit in their growth rate (relative to either the preceding year, or to similarly performing but promoted students), and made less progress compared to the randomly selected group of students. While consistent with the extant empirical evidence failing to support the effectiveness of grade retention, these findings warrant careful consideration given both the longitudinal design and the analytic procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-270
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of school psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Longitudinal
  • Reading growth
  • Retention


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