How well does ending social promotion work?
We examined a policy in Florida that required third-grade student to perform at a certain level on the state’s reading test to receive an automatic promotion to fourth grade. Students who performed below the required level and repeated third grade made significantly greater academic progress than similar students who were promoted despite their lack of skills. The benefit of being retained grew so that by the end of the second year the retained students entered fifth grade knowing more than the promoted students did leaving fifth grade – this despite the fact that the retained students had not yet been exposed to the fifth grade material. [Emphasis added]