First Advisor

David Capuzzi

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Administration


Educational Leadership and Policy




Grade repetition, Grade repetition -- Decision making



Physical Description

3, x, 239 leaves 28 cm.


Students who fail to achieve in school are frequently retained in grade to remediate their lack of satisfactory progress. In this study, elementary school principals, kindergarten, and first grade teachers were interviewed to explore their perceptions of the decision making processes used in recommending retention. The belief systems which underlie their reliance on retention as a remedial option were also examined. Three research questions were addressed: 1. What is the relationship between the written retention policy of a selected school district and the actual decision making process used by its schools? 2. What are the influences by district socio-economic level which impact the decision making process used in student retention? 3. What are the perceptions across district socioeconomic level of teachers and principals regarding the use of retention as an intervention for students? Some additional questions related to the three research questions were also explored in the study. The primary method of data collection consisted of interviews with nine participants. In addition, principals, kindergarten, and first grade teachers from 12 schools, representing three socio-economic levels, were surveyed. Data were integrated to develop a more complete narrative of retention practice as perceived by these practitioners. The results of this study indicate several factors influence retention decision making and practice: 1. expectations of other teachers 2. pressure of curriculum standards 3. the availability of alternatives 4. the perceived needs of students 5. the belief systems of teachers 6. knowledge of retention research. Recommendations are presented for encouraging practice more aligned with current research and to assist district policy makers in developing alternatives for retention. The research suggests that future study be conducted to further explore teacher belief systems underlying retention practice.


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