Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
Subscribe   Subscribe   MI on Facebook Find us on Twitter Find us on Instagram      

Education Working Paper
No. 7  December 2004

An Evaluation of Florida’s Program
to End Social Promotion


  1. See Florida’s ranking on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a standardized test administered by the U.S. Department of Education ( Florida also had the lowest graduation rate in the nation for the class of 2001 (see Greene and Forster 2003).
  2. See In order to receive an exemption under criterion no. 3, the student must score above the fifty-first percentile on the Stanford-9.
  3. Authors’ calculations using data provided by Florida Department of Education.
  4. Authors’ calculations using data taken from Table 38 of the Digest of Education Statistics 2003 and Table 19 of "Characteristics of the 100 Largest Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts in the United States: 2001-02," both published by the National Center for Education Statistics.
  5. In order to score above the Level 1 threshold on the FCAT reading test, a student must have a developmental-scale score of at least 1,046. This threshold was the same for groups in both years of our analysis.
  6. The norm-referenced version of the FCAT is actually the Stanford-9.
  7. Such concerns remain widespread, though previous research indicates that the results of high-stakes tests, particularly the FCAT, are reliable (see Greene, Winters, and Forster 2003) precisely because their results correlate highly with those of low-stakes tests.
  8. We were able to obtain information on whether the student was non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, or multiracial.
  9. Eric A. Hanushek, “The Failure of Input-Based Schooling Policies,” Economic Journal, February 2003.
  10. See Jay P. Greene, “The Effect of School Choice: An Evaluation of Charlotte’s Children’s Scholarship Fund,” Manhattan Institute, August 2002. See also William Howell and Paul E. Peterson, “The Education Gap: Vouchers and Urban Schools,” Brookings Institution Press, 2002.


Center for Civic Innovation.


EWP 7 PDF (177 kb)


Retained students excel on FCAT retake Tallahassee Democrat, FL
Students to face tighter standards
The News-Press, FL, 1-20-05
Board wants to end social promotion
St. Petersburg Times, 1-19-05
Florida: A State's Approach, New York Times, 1-16-05
Failing students getting promoted
Cleveland Plain Dealer, 12-20-04
Paige Issues Statement on Report on Social Promotion, 12-8-04
Yanking Schools Back From Oz by Jay P. Greene & Marcus A. Winters, New York Post, 12-8-04
Put to the test, unearned passes don't help kids by Jay P. Greene & Marcus A. Winters, Chicago Sun-Times, 12-8-04
California should end social promotion
by Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters, San Diego Union Tribune, 12-9-04
Guest Column: Ending social promotion works by Jay P. Greene & Marcus A. Winters, Vero Beach Press-Journal, 12-8-04
Analysis: Ending social promotions helpful Washington Times, 12-10-04
Fla.'s tough third-grade policy a hit New York Daily News, 12-8-04
Report: Holding Back Students Helps NY Sun, 12-8-04
Retention may help students, study says, 12-8-04

This study evaluates a program that ends social promotion by linking promotion to standardized test results. In particular, it examines the initial effects of Florida’s policy requiring students to reach a minimum threshold on the state's reading exam to be promoted to the 4th grade. The study compares the year-to-year progress of the first group of students subject to the mandate, as well as the progress of similarly low-performing 3rd graders from the year earlier, before the mandatory retention policy was in place. It finds that students who were retained outperformed their counterparts who were socially promoted by the equivalent of about 4 percentile points in reading and 10 in math.














Table 1: Gains Made by Students Translated into Standard Deviation Units

Table 2: Gains Made by Students Translated into Percentile Scores

Table 3: Effect of Being Subject to Retention Policy on FCAT Reading Test

Table 4: Effect of Being Subject to Retention Policy on Stanford-9 Reading Test

Table 5: Effect of Being Subject to Retention Policy on FCAT Math Test

Table 6: Effect of Being Subject to Retention Policy on Stanford-9 Math Test

Table 7: Effect of Retention on FCAT Reading Test

Table 8: Effect of Retention on Stanford-9 Reading Test

Table 9: Effect of Retention on FCAT Math Test

Table 10: Effect of Retention on Stanford-9 Math Test


Home | About MI | Scholars | Publications | Books | Links | Contact MI
City Journal | CAU | CCI | CEPE | CLP | CMP | CRD | ECNY
Thank you for visiting us.
To receive a General Information Packet, please email
and include your name and address in your e-mail message.
Copyright © 2015 Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Inc. All rights reserved.
52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017
phone (212) 599-7000 / fax (212) 599-3494