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Grade retention refers to repeating the same grade level in consecutive years. The decision to retain a student is most frequently made when a child experiences difficulty with academic subjects and fails to reach performance standards or appears to be socially immature for his or her age or grade level. Factors that are often associated with an increased risk of retention include living in poverty, frequent changes in school or chronic absenteeism, reading and behavior problems, and difficulties with peer relationships. This entry provides a brief overview of the origins of grade retention, discusses research that informs our understanding of the negative outcomes associated with grade retention, and identifies some effective alternatives to grade retention.

Origins of Grade Retention in the United States

Grade retention was put ...

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