Grade Level Retention:
What are the Perceptions and Effectiveness of the Practice?
Anthony A. Hoffmeyer
GRADE LEVEL RETENTION 2
Retaining a child at grade level has become popular due to the emphasis on accountability and standards in elementary education. This literature review provides a critique of the research examining the academic and socioemotional outcomes associated with grade retention. The push for student retention is demanded by school boards, school administrators, and teachers in spite of the overwhelming research that grade retention does not support the improvement of academic performance or personal behavioral qualities. Given the abundance of research examining the efficacy of grade retention as well as alternative intervention strategies, education professionals are encouraged to make informed decisions. This literature review will attempt to provide information pertaining to the effects of grade retention on academic achievement, socioemotional adjustments, long-term outcomes of grade retention, and ideas to move forward with effective alternatives to grade retention. Educational professionals are encouraged to incorporate the research literature when advocating for intervention services on behalf of students. This review contends that research studies do not support the use of grade retention and also claims that retention is an inappropriate practice. Suggestions for improving retention studies are offered.
Key Words: Grade retention, academic achievement, meta-analysis, grade failure, flunked, failed, retained, No Child Left Behind
GRADE LEVEL RETENTION 3
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