On the Success of Failure: A Reassessment of the Effects of Retention in the Primary School Grades

On the Success of Failure is about the practice of grade retention in elementary schools, a particularly vexing problem in urban school systems. The book describes the school context of retention and evaluates its consequences by tracking the experiences of a large, representative sample of Baltimore school children from first grade through high school. It addresses the complex question of whether or not a repeating a grade is helpful or harmful when children are not keeping up.