The Florida Legislature
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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Third Grade Retention Policy Leading to Better Student Performance Statewide, Report No. 06-66, October 2006
Full report in PDF format

  • This report evaluates the FCAT performance of students affected by Florida’s third grade retention policy during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 school years and follows their performance through the 2004-05 school year.
  • The retention policy increased the number of students who repeat third grade after scoring at level 1 on the FCAT.  However, the subsequent performance of these students also has improved.  Sixty-two percent of the students who repeated third grade because they scored at level 1 on the FCAT subsequently improved their performance to level 2 or above.  About two-thirds of these students maintained their improved performance into fourth grade.
  • Many students scoring at level 1 are promoted for one of six statutorily defined “good cause” exemptions.  The subsequent performance of these students is generally lower than that of retained level 1 students.
  • Department of Education data is not sufficient to determine the basis or timing for all level 1 promotions to fourth grade.  However, the data quality improved from the first to the second year of the policy.  The department is addressing some of the remaining problems and OPPAGA provides additional recommendations in this report. 
  • The effectiveness of school responses to the policy varied. Schools that were more successful at improving the performance of third grade repeaters appeared to set higher academic expectations for all students and show stronger instructional leadership.

Which Government Program Summaries contain related information?

Remedial and Supplemental Academic Instruction
Public Schools (K-12 Education)
School Improvement, Assessment, and Accountability
Instructional Materials

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • Report No. 11-05 Several States Offer High School Diploma Options to Address Students’ Needs and Future Goals,published in January 2011.
  • Report No. 10-56 Many Florida Programs Enhance Students’ Career and College Readiness, published in November 2010.
  • Report No. 08-42 The Department of Education Has Taken Initial Steps to Improve Student Progression Data, published in June 2008.
  • Report No. 07-27 High School Completion Rate Increased Slightly After FCAT Graduation Policy Implemented, published in April 2007.
  • Report No. 05-02 OPPAGA Report: K-8 Schools May Help School Districts Improve Student Performance, published in January 2005.
  • Report No. 04-41 Progress Report: K-12 Accountability System and Student Achievement Improved, But Challenges Remain, published in June 2004.
  • Report No. 01-22 Justification Review: Kindergarten Through Twelfth Grade Public Education Program, published in April 2001.
  • Report No. 00-07 Progress Report: Florida Actions Should Improve Student Performance in High-Poverty Schools, published in August 2000.

Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
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