By Karl L. Alexander
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Extra info for On the Success of Failure: A Reassessment of the Effects of Retention in the Primary School Grades
Using kindergarten rosters from the previous year, samples were drawn in all 20 schools over the summer before ﬁrst grade; then in early fall, new ﬁrst grade registrants were sampled. The summer sampling allowed us to obtain parental consent before the start of the school year (a practical necessity, as our goal was to complete fall interviewing before ﬁrst report cards were issued); the fall supplementation maintained representativeness by adding children who attended kindergarten elsewhere or had skipped kindergarten altogether (about 10% of the group).
To illustrate, a total of 12 pupil interviews were conducted between fall 1982 when the BSS commenced and spring 1990 (Project Year 8). During the same time, parents were interviewed on eight occasions. Our procedures generally have worked well – for example, through the group’s eighth school year almost 80% of the original sample was still participating in the project and coverage on the Young Adult Survey used to identify dropouts also is 80% (that survey was administered over an 18-month period in 1998/99; equivalently, at age 22–23).
Karweit (1999) examines retentions in grades K–3 for children in the Prospects longitudinal ﬁrst grade cohort (N = 9,240). The group’s educational progress was tracked from 1991 to 1994 and sample coverage is national. 1. generally is the modal grade of retention at the elementary level). Karweit’s analysis examines reading and math achievement as assessed in fall of ﬁrst grade (fall 1991), spring 1992, spring 1993, and spring 1994. She too reports both same-age and same-grade comparisons, and 26 On the Success of Failure from several perspectives: retained versus all promoted, retained versus all promoted after adjusting statistically for background differences, retained versus a low-performing promoted comparison group.
On the Success of Failure: A Reassessment of the Effects of Retention in the Primary School Grades by Karl L. Alexander