This study from the National Bureau of Economic Research uses a regression discontinuity design to examine the long-term effects of grade retention, in the 6th and 8th grade, on the likelihood of dropping out of high school. It was found that 6th grade retention had little effect on the likelihood of dropping or the age at which students drop out. However, retaining students in the 8th grade reduces their probability of completing high school by about 14%, suggesting that grade retention later in a student’s academic career may have a greater impact on academic attainment. There was no evidence that grade retention affected the timing of dropping out.
The Effect of Grade Retention on High School Completion
CCRS Center Publication
National Bureau of Economic Research