Giving Compass' Take:

• Naaz Modan explains that laws holding back 3rd-graders for failing to meet reading requirements may hurt students - particularly students of color who are more likely to be held back. 

• How can schools better serve students who are falling behind in reading? 

• Read about the effects of holding middle schoolers back

Using a 5-year, $4.9 million grant, the Michigan Education Research Institute will closely monitor the impact of the state’s controversial Read By Grade Threelaw, which passed in 2016 and permits schools to retain 3rd-graders whose state assessments find them reading more than a grade level behind, The Detroit News reports.

While Michigan is among 16 other states to pass legislation allowing schools to retain students based on reading proficiency, it is reportedly the first to launch a comprehensive review of such legislation’s effects.

Projected estimates by the Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) for the number of students retained come spring 2020, when Michigan will be implementing the law for the first time, suggest that about 4.4% of students will be retained. A greater percentage of those retained are projected to be African Americans, at up to 11%, compared to an estimated 2.6% of white students.

While the legislation assumes retaining students with low reading proficiency levels could improve student outcomes, students who are held back in elementary school are almost three times more likely to drop out before getting a high school diploma. At the same time, the cost of a repeat year can be more than $384 million, according to one 14-year study in Texas.

Read the full article about holding students back by Naaz Modan at Education Dive.