The Effect of Retention Under Mississippi’s Test-Based Promotion Policy
Authors: Kirsten Slungaard Mumma and Marcus A Winters
This study examines the impact of Mississippi’s test-based promotion policy, adopted in 2013 as part of a comprehensive statewide effort to improve early literacy. The authors employ a research design that allows them to estimate the causal impact of third-grade retention under the policy on test scores and non-test-score outcomes in the sixth grade. The findings contribute to our growing knowledge of how elementary-level test-based promotion policies influence students’ educational outcomes and experiences over time.
- For students who were in the third grade in 2014-15, being retained under Mississippi’s policy led to substantially higher ELA scores in the sixth grade.
- The magnitude of this causal effect is very large relative to other educational interventions, including test-based promotion policies in other states.
- The positive effect on ELA scores was driven by positive effects for Black and Hispanic/Latinx students in particular.
- Retention under the policy had no significant impact on other outcomes in sixth grade, including math scores, absences, and special education identification.
In the News
The 74 Million (2023, February 15). New Study: Holding Kids Back One Key Factor in Mississippi’s Reading Revolution.