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Getting Farther Ahead by Staying Behind: A Second-Year Evaluation of Florida's Policy to End Social Promotion

Wednesday September 2006


Jay P. Greene, Ph.D. Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute Head of the Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas
Joel I. Klein Chancellor, New York City Public Schools

Too many American schools promote students to higher grade levels despite their not having mastered the academic demands of the grade they have completed. A growing number of educators have come to question the wisdom of such “social promotion” and begun to adopt the policy of retaining students who fail a promotion test—for their own academic good. Several states, including Texas and Florida, and cities including Chicago and New York, have adopted test-based promotion policies as an alternative to social promotion. But has test-based promotion really led to a higher level of student achievement?

A new report by Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters finds that Florida’s test-based promotion system has led to improved academic achievement. The authors also explore whether discrepancies in research findings on test-based promotion policies in Florida and Chicago are caused by differences in research methods, or by differences in the nature of the promotion policies.

Chancellor Joel Klein will discuss the success of ending social promotion in New York City and describe his continuing school reform initiatives for the city. Dr. Greene will explain his study and its implications for creation and expansion of testbased promotion policies in other states and school districts including New York City.