Grade Retention and School Performance: An Extended Investigation
AbstractThis study extends Reynolds’ (1992) investigation of the social- psychological influences on grade retention and school adjustment in early childhood by tracing the predictors and consequences of grade retention for school achievement, perceived competence, and delinquency in early adolescence (age 14). The study sample included 1,164 (93 percent of the sample from the original study) low-income, mostly black children in the Chicago Longitudinal Study. Twenty-eight percent of the study sample were retained-in-grade by age 14 (first grade to eighth grade). The strongest predictors of retention were early school performance (test scores and grades), sex (boys were more likely to be retained), parent participation in school, and school mobility. Overall, grade retention was significantly associated with lower reading and math achievement at age 14 above and beyond a comprehensive set of explanatory variables. Results based on same-age comparison groups yielded larger effects of retention on school achievement than those based on same-grade comparisons, but both approaches indicated that grade retention was associated with significantly lower reading achievement. In the full model, grade retention was unrelated to perceived school competence at age 12 and to delinquency infractions at age 14. With the exception of reading achievement, retention during the primary grades and retention during grades 4 to 7 yielded a similar pattern of effects. Findings were largely consistent with the earlier study and suggest that intervention approaches other than grade retention are needed to better promote school achievement and adjustment.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty in its series Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers with number 1167-98.
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