ERIC Number: ED204871
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Towards a Theory of Promotion: Does Retaining Students Really Work?
McAfee, Jackson K.
Educators considering adoption of policies regarding the promotion of students from one grade to the next must consider several factors, including acceptable levels of student progress toward terminal objectives, student developmental and cognitive abilities, community attitudes toward student retention, and the educational benefits of retention. Research on the effects of grade retention has frequently been biased or at least inadequate, rarely using a true experimental design featuring random assignment of treatments to students performing at unacceptable levels. Misinterpretation of scores on standardized tests, due to skewed age-grade norms caused in part by variations in retention policies, has resulted in unreliable assessment of relative student progress. This attempt to assess student progress in terms of both age and grade norms used Model A, the frequently misunderstood evaluation design specified in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Analysis of the data showed that the retention policy under consideration was beneficial in the elementary grades, and had no significant effect on learning in junior high grades. High school grades were not tested. Statistical factors involved in analyzing the data are discussed, as are the needs for further research. (Author/PGD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Elementary Secondary Education Act Title I
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Los Angeles, CA, April 13-17, 1981).