Can we move forward by holding back? An analysis of the effects of test-based grade retention in third grade on student achievement in Indiana

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dc.contributor.advisor Salloum, Serena Edwards, Vince 2022-01-10T16:16:04Z 2022-01-10T16:16:04Z 2021-07-24
dc.description.abstract As of 2021, eighteen states plus the District of Columbia have implemented legislation regarding mandatory test-based grade retention focusing on minimum reading proficiency levels (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2019) with many of those policies targeting the thirdgrade year. While grade retention has been largely viewed negatively in the research conducted prior to NCLB, some studies of the academic effects of other city- or state-wide test-based retention policies in recent years have found that there can be positive outcomes. Indiana is one of the states with a retention policy tied to IREAD-3, a reading test in Grade 3, but up to now, the effectiveness of this policy has not been studied thoroughly. The decision to retain a student in grade is complex and critical with a variety of factors to understand as well as meaningful and far-reaching consequences to consider. This study focuses on the academic effects of test-based retention on students in the 2012 Grade 3 cohort in Indiana and follows them through Grade 8 using ISTEP+ results. A comprehensive, statewide dataset is analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistical approaches, culminating with longitudinal multilevel modeling to control for many student-level factors as well as their school districts. Consistent with some of the similar studies conducted in other cities and states, this study finds that retention has a positive effect on academic performance in a same-grade comparison in both English / Language Arts and Mathematics. These findings support the idea that grade retention could be considered a viable intervention policy; however, it is important to consider the ancillary supports and efforts that often accompany retention policies and view the positive gains as an aggregate of these efforts. Considered as a part of the existing body of research on grade retention, there is still much to be understood about most appropriate uses of the practice of grade retention. en_US
dc.title Can we move forward by holding back? An analysis of the effects of test-based grade retention in third grade on student achievement in Indiana en_US Thesis (D. Ed.) en_US

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  • Doctoral Dissertations [3248]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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