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Contact: Clarice Smith, Press Officer, (646) 839-3342

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

"The Manhattan Institute's follow-up study by Dr. Jay Greene and Marcus Winters once again validates the learning gains by retained students when compared to their socially promoted peers."
Governor Jeb Bush, September 14, 2006

New York, NY: On Wednesday, September 13th, Manhattan Institute scholars Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters released a new study, "Getting Farther Ahead by Staying Behind: A Second-Year Evaluation of Florida's Policy to End Social Promotion", expanding on their 2006 study, analyzes the effects of Florida's test-based promotion policy on student achievement two years after initial retention. In Florida, students must pass a standardized reading test in order to be promoted to the fourth-grade. The authors examine whether benefits to students retained under the test-based policy have continued to expand or contract after the second year, and 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.

Key findings include:

  • Two years after test-based promotion policy was enacted, retained Florida students made significant reading gains relative to the control group of socially promoted students.
  • Students lacking basic skills who are socially promoted fall farther behind over time, whereas retained students are able to catch up on skills they are lacking
  • .
  • Positive results of test-based promotion in Florida were found when the researchers utilized both their previous study's research design and the research design used to evaluate the Chicago test-based promotion program.

The authors conclude that test-based promotion has demonstrated promise for significantly improving student achievement, but the success of the policy depends upon its implementation.

The study can be accessed online at If you would like to schedule an interview with one of the authors, please contact Clarice Z. Smith at 646-839-3318 or by email at

Jay P. Greene, Ph.D., is Endowed Chair and Head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas and a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He is the author of, Education Myths, which received wide acclaim. He also recently published research on graduation rates and special education. His education research has been cited in U.S. Supreme Court opinions and has appeared in scholarly and popular publications. Dr. Greene obtained his doctorate in political science from Harvard University in 1995.

Marcus A. Winters is a Senior Research Associate at the Manhattan Institute and a Doctoral Academy Fellow at the University of Arkansas. He has performed several studies on a variety of education policy issues, including high-stakes testing, charter schools, and the effects of vouchers on the public school system. He received his B.A. in political science with departmental honors from Ohio University in 2002 and his M.A. in economics from the University of Arkansas in 2006.

The Manhattan Institute, a 501(c)(3), is a think tank whose mission is to develop and disseminate new ideas
that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility.

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