If at first you don’t succeed…

Does repeating a year in school help educational performance? The 2006 Education at a Glance, an annual report, says that although many teachers and education administrators see repeating as a good way of getting children to improve, repeat students are no more likely to do well than non-repeating classmates.

OECD countries have different retention policies on repeating. In three countries–Iceland, Japan and Norway– no students reported having repeated a grade by the age of 15. Additionally, eight countries have only a limited number of students repeating grades. In the majority of OECD countries, grade retention is more prevalent; in a third of all OECD countries over 15% of students have repeated a grade, according to Education at a Glance. In France over 38% of kids aged 15 reported that they have already repeated a year, followed by Luxembourg and Belgium. In Spain and Portugal multiple repeating by individual pupils is relatively common. Countries that have topped the OECD PISA survey of educational performance by 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science, such as Finland and Korea, have very low repeat rates of 2.8% and 0.5% respectively. The OECD average is 13.4%.

Education at a Glance 2006, which examines educational performance, financial and human resources, access and organisation, is available at www.oecdbookshop.org

Education at a Glance 2007 is also now available.

©OECD Observer No 257, October 2006

 




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