ERIC Number: ED427410
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Nov
Structural Consequences of Retention Policies: The Use of Computer Models To Inform Policy.
Morris, Don R.
This paper reports on a longitudinal study of the structural effects of grade retention on dropout rate and percent of graduates qualified. The study drew on computer simulation to explore the effects of retention and how this practice affects dropout rate, the percent of graduates who meet required standards, and enrollment itself. The computer results were then compared to data collected during a period of high retention pursued by the Dade County Florida school district in the 1980s. Model results agreed with empirical studies, thus demonstrating that retention-form patterns have consequences over time, and that computer simulations can be instrumental in understanding the complex nature of those consequences. Three major points arise from the simulations concerning the sharp changes in the behavior of the selected variables at the beginning and following the end of the retention policy: (1) it is important to recognize the existence, origin, and shape of patterns of variable behavior; (2) retention effects lingered long after the policy ended--the graduating classes' quality drops rapidly for 5 years following the end of the policy; and (3) policymakers must consider the old policy's residual effects when implementing new retention policies. (Contains 5 figures, 9 notes, and 43 references.) (RJM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the annual conference of the Florida Educational Research Association (42nd, Orlando, FL, November 1997).