Discretion and Inequity: Third Grade Reading and Retention Policy in Indiana

Master's Thesis


Indiana is one of 19 states across the US that have passed legislation around third-grade reading proficiency, many of which provide guidance on retaining students who do not meet grade-level expectations. Analyzing data from the Indiana Department of Education, this analysis uses logistic and linear regression to examine the ways that retention policy, whether test-based or discretionary, shifts which students are most likely to be retained and subsequently, its impacts on student achievement. Findings suggest that upon the introduction of student and school-level controls, Black students are more likely to be retained than their white peers under test-based retention, but this is not the case during discretionary periods. Furthermore, results suggest that students retained under the test-based policy consistently score lower than their peers retained under the pre-policy period for the four outcomes analyzed, 4th and 5th-grade language arts and math.


Attribute NameValues
Author Sofia Dueñas
Contributor Steven E. Alvarado, Research Director
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Sociology
Degree Name Master of Arts
Banner Code
  • MA-SOC

Defense Date
  • 2023-05-22

Submission Date 2023-07-05
Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units
Catalog Record

Digital Object Identifier


This DOI is the best way to cite this master's thesis.


Please Note: You may encounter a delay before a download begins. Large or infrequently accessed files can take several minutes to retrieve from our archival storage system.