In December, meanwhile, the Consortium on Chicago School Research released its first report on the effects of the no social promotion policy on student achievement and school instruction. The Consortium is an independent federation of Chicago area organizations that conducts research on issues related to Chicago's public schools.
The report indicated that retained students continue to achieve extremely poorly on the Iowa Test, even after a summer school intensively focused on test-taking and after repeating a grade during the regular school year. "While summer bridge raised students' performance briefly, there is no evidence that it altered the overall pattern of school-year achievement for these students, "the report said.
The report, however, also found significant increases in the proportion of students who meet the test-score cutoff for promotions.
The report gave mixed results on whether getting students to meet the minimum score allows them to do better the next year; and it noted the uneven access across schools to policy waivers.
In a minority report released concurrently, Consortium Steering Committee member Donald Moore argued that both the retention policy and the social promotion policy it replaced are failures. He called for alternatives for improving student achievement in urban schools that are based on research. In particular, he cited high quality early childhood education, preparing elementary school teachers to teach reading more effectively, and consciously spreading the practices of high-achieving inner-city schools to other schools.