Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Prospective educational leaders' beliefs and knowledge about grade retention
by Neuberger, Dina M., Ph.D., Northern Arizona University, 2011, 180; 3490543
Abstract (Summary)

Graduate students preparing to assume leadership roles in the field of education were surveyed to investigate their beliefs and knowledge about grade retention. Approximately 160 university graduate students who were enrolled in Educational Leadership programs, the majority of whom were also experienced teachers, completed a survey and knowledge test on grade retention and social promotion. An abundance of research findings from the past century shows that academically and psychosocially, retained students do not catch up to similar peers who are promoted. Results from the present study showed that contradictory to these research findings, the majority of prospective educational leaders believed that grade retention is a useful and harmless intervention for supporting struggling students in early primary grades, and for motivating students to work harder. However, their beliefs were more in line with retention research findings in some areas. For example, most prospective educational leaders’ believed that retaining older students and retaining students multiple times are harmful practices, and that grade retention is not a useful intervention for creating more homogenous classrooms, in regards to academic skill variance. Participants identified maturity level of the student, local/state accountability standards for academic achievement, and the number of times a student was previously retained as the three most important factors they consider when making retention/promotion decisions. Consistent with a previous study using experienced teachers, present findings showed that prospective educational leaders’ knowledge about grade retention research is very limited, and that most of them rely upon knowledge gained from personal experiences (practical knowledge), as opposed to knowledge gained from research-based findings (propositional knowledge), for information about retention/social promotion. No associations were found between prospective educational leaders’ amount of propositional knowledge about retention research in regards to (1) their rate of actually recommending students for retention, and (2) their exposure to retention research through college coursework. Findings did, however, show that participants who possessed more propositional knowledge about retention research were (1) significantly more likely to cite propositional knowledge sources as their primary source of information on retention/social promotion, and (2) significantly less likely to believe that grade retention was an effective intervention for struggling students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gaddis, Lena, McLellan, Mary
Commitee: Bohan, Kathy, Gaddis, Lena, Guerrero, Shannon, McLellan, Mary, Powell, Pamela
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Educational Psychology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 73/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Educational psychology
Keywords: Beliefs, Grade repetition, Grade retention, Leaders, Prospective administrators, School administrators, Teachers
Publication Number: 3490543
ISBN: 978-1-267-11499-0
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