Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Ronald A. Lindahl

Committee Members

Elizabeth Ralston, Russell F. West, Russell O. Mays


The purpose of this study was to inform educators of the impact of grade retention on a child's perception of self, and to provide recommendations and practical applications for educators in the future.

Although the long-term effects of grade retention are still unclear, the number of students being retained annually is steadily on the rise. Conflicting beliefs about the advantages and disadvantages of the retention experience make it difficult to clearly predict which students will benefit from being retained.

A large body of research reports the impact of grade retention on scholastic achievement. As retention has usually been considered to remediate academic difficulties, the effectiveness of retention is logically studied in terms of academic performance. However, because educators recognize the importance of affective variables, it is equally important to assess the effectiveness of retention in terms of self-perceptions and engagement at school.

The focus of this inquiry was to explore the effects of retention as reported by twelve 5th and 6th grade students who had been retained. Because logical and theoretical arguments have been made for the negative effects of retention on a child's self-image, this study examined the self-esteem of retained students. Research techniques included open-ended questions and interviews, using Patton's qualitative interview guide approach.

From the findings, the investigator reached the following conclusions: (a) for the participants in this study, being retained was not detrimental to their perceptions of self; (b) all participants perceived others to like them well; in fact, 5 of the 12 reported that others liked them better following their retention experiences; and (c) all students in this study believed that retention helped them to do better in school.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Copyright by the authors.