Elementary school grade retention : a qualitative study of high school seniors' perceptions of being held back

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christine M. Smith (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://library.wcu.edu/
Mary Herzog

Abstract: Studies dating back to the 1920s have argued the effects of retention on the academic achievement, social adjustment, and emotional states of students. Researchers have shown the detrimental outcomes as well as the benefits of holding students back in elementary school. Studies regarding the phenomenon are substantially quantitative, and comparatively, qualitative studies are few in number. This study fills a void in the qualitative research by examining the experiences of 22 high school seniors, all of whom planned to participate in post high school education, who have been held back a grade in elementary school. Most of the participants did not want to be held back at the time they were retained, fearing they would lose their friends. However, they all exhibited resiliency as they overcame their challenges and found success in school. Examples of resiliency were viewed through the lens of the transactional model of development. The cascade of events in their lives illustrated their pathways that lead them to graduating high school with a college preparatory diploma. Many of the participants saw the benefits of retention on their academic achievement. Several viewed retention merely as prolonging their schooling. Protective factors included mother‘s support, family support, early academic interventions, extra-curricular activities in high school, and early grade retention. Participants advised educators to consider all of a student‘s personal stories, and envision his or her future when deciding upon retention.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
qualitative, retention, school
Grade repetition -- North Carolina, Western -- Psychological aspects -- Case studies
High school seniors -- North Carolina, Western -- Attitudes -- Case studies

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