Despite the prevalence of the grade retention in US schools, understanding of the effectiveness of this costly intervention is lacking due to methodological and conceptual limitations of extant research. A primary methodological limitation is a failure in most studies of retention effects to rule out that pre-existing vulnerabilities associated with selection into the retention intervention are responsible for results. Conceptually, studies fail to specify developmental processes by which retention would affect academic outcomes. Prospective, longitudinal studies spanning grades 1-12 are rare. The primary objective of the proposal is to continue to follow a sample of 569 ethnically and linguistically diverse students (206 Hispanic, 200 White, 140 African American, and 23 Other), who were recruited on the basis of academic risk when in first grade in 2000 or 2001 and are still active, to determine the effects of grade retention on students'graduation from high school and postsecondary educational and occupational attainment, and to investigate theoretically informed models of processes that mediate the impact of grade retention as well variables that moderate its success. Drawing from results obtained to date, retention in the elementary grades is expected to negatively impact students'psychological, cognitive, and behavioral engagement in middle school, which will impact achievement and school persistence in high school. A second objective is to clarify the role of social processes and classroom and school variables on achievement and educational attainment via the effect of social processes on students'educational motivation and aspirations. Thirdly, the study investigates the role of ethnicity, language, and culture as they relate to the first two specific aims in our sub-sample of Hispanic students. Propensity matching will be used to minimize selection effects into the retention group. The availability of extensive data from teachers, peers, schools, and parents as well as annual individual assessments of students'academic achievement and psychosocial functioning across students'public school experience permits testing complex models of growth in academic motivation and achievement across schooling, change across time in sources of influence on achievement, and short-term as well as long- term consequences of grade retention as well as peer, teacher, and family variables on educational outcomes. Research questions are translated into testable hypothesized models and presented in path diagrams. The corresponding statistical powers of the hypothesized models are then estimated procedures that address both latent and observed variables as well as the multilevel nature of our data simultaneously.

Public Health Relevance

Although students retained in grade are more likely to drop out of school, it is not clear that the association between being retained and dropping out of school is due to retention or to other vulnerabilities that are associated with being retained. The proposed research uses a longitudinal design with good controls for students'vulnerabilities for poor educational outcomes, prior to being retained, to determine the effect of grade retention on high school graduation and post- secondary educational and occupational outcomes. Failure to earn a high school degree places an individual at greatly increased risk for long-term social, mental health, and economic problems. The study also investigates factors that buffer students with poor academic skills in first grade from poor educational outcomes.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01HD039367-12
Application #
8474800
Study Section
Community-Level Health Promotion Study Section (CLHP)
Program Officer
Griffin, James
Project Start
2000-08-01
Project End
2017-06-30
Budget Start
2013-07-01
Budget End
2014-06-30
Support Year
12
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$315,909
Indirect Cost
$87,700
Name
Texas A&M University
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Education
DUNS #
020271826
City
College Station
State
TX
Country
United States
Zip Code
77845
Wu, Jiun-Yu; Hughes, Jan N (2015) Teacher Network of Relationships Inventory: measurement invariance of academically at-risk students across ages 6 to 15. Sch Psychol Q 30:23-36
Chen, Qi; Hughes, Jan N; Kwok, Oi-Man (2014) Differential Growth Trajectories for Achievement Among Children Retained in First Grade: A Growth Mixture Model. Elem Sch J 114:327-353
Cham, Heining; Hughes, Jan N; West, Stephen G et al. (2014) Assessment of adolescents' motivation for educational attainment. Psychol Assess 26:642-59
Hughes, Jan N; Im, Myung Hee; Wehrly, Sarah E (2014) Effect of peer nominations of teacher-student support at individual and classroom levels on social and academic outcomes. J Sch Psychol 52:309-22
Hughes, Jan N; Kowk, Oi-Man; Im, Myunghee (2013) Effect of Retention in First Grade on Parents' Educational Expectations and Children's Academic Outcomes. Am Educ Res J 50:
Im, Myung Hee; Hughes, Jan N; Kwok, Oi-man et al. (2013) Effect of retention in elementary grades on transition to middle school. J Sch Psychol 51:349-65
Li, Yan; Hughes, Jan N; Kwok, Oi-Man et al. (2012) Evidence of convergent and discriminant validity of child, teacher, and peer reports of teacher-student support. Psychol Assess 24:54-65
Hughes, Jan N (2012) Teacher-student relationships and school adjustment: progress and remaining challenges. Attach Hum Dev 14:319-27
Peterson, Lisa S; Hughes, Jan N (2011) The Differences between Retained and Promoted Children in Educational Services Received. Psychol Sch 48:156-165
Hughes, Jan N; Chen, Qi (2011) Reciprocal effects of student-teacher and student-peer relatedness: Effects on academic self efficacy. J Appl Dev Psychol 32:278-287

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