Studies Review Student Performance and Third Grade Retention

Two reports on Michigan students’ performance in the 2020-21 school year were released on Tuesday – one looking at K-8 learning gains on benchmark assessments given at the beginning and end of the year and the other a review of third-graders identified for retention under the Read by Grade Three law.

The two reports echo findings from other states across the country. Students made learning gains during the pandemic, although not as rapidly as in previous years. A slightly higher proportion of third-grade students were flagged for retention based on 2021 statewide assessments than would have been if the retention component of the law had been in effect in 2019.

The research, completed by Michigan State University’s Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) in partnership with the MDE and the Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI), seeks to understand both the impact of the pandemic on K-12 education and the implementation and efficacy of several of the state’s education policies and programs.

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