Date of Award

1981

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Abstract

To investigate the effect of retention upon student performance, this study focused on analyses of reading and mathematics scores from SRA Achievement Tests for three years--1978, 1979, and 1980. The population was all students retained for 1979-1980 in grades first through eighth in public schools of Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. From sixteen schools in twelve towns the 711 involved students included 435 boys and 276 girls. Evaluation for retention effect was by compared differences between gains for year of repetition and those for previous year. Mean gains for these years were obtained by subtraction of relative scores and analyzed by subject, sex, and grade level. Application of t-tests at the .05 level of confidence resulted in rejection of three of the six null hypotheses when significant differences were shown for reading and in grade-level comparisons for both reading and mathematics. Since no significant differences were found for mathematics nor in comparison by sex for both subjects, the other three null hypotheses were confirmed. The lack of significant gain-differences between girls and boys seemed to imply lack of significant differences in other factors that could have had influence on the achievement of this particular population. Second grade's significant gains did not verify it as the best grade level of retention, but it seemed to confirm theories on learning rates of primary-age children. Sixth grade formed the achievement plateau where the mean reading gain for the year of repetition almost matched the total mean gain for grades second through eighth, while lesser gains were noted for seventh and eighth grades. This development appeared to pinpoint sixth grade as the best level for retention should it be deemed necessary for some students. In light of future expansion of minimum-standard testing which could involve increased retention, it was recommended that a longitudinal study be made and that it utilize attitudinal and self-concept scales as well as a socioeconomic index. Additionally warranted would be the inclusion of a focus on developmental differences according to sex.

Pages

90

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