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Retention Characteristics And Policy As Suggested By California School Administrators And Teachers

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Problem. There has been no definite conclusions in the literature as to the benefit or harm of retaining students in grade. With the California Legislative Mandate of SB 813, school districts are now required to have policies in effect for the promotion or nonpromotion of students. This study reviewed retention characteristics currently used in retention policy, those mentioned in literature, and the perceptions of administrators and teachers as to the value of these characteristics in retention. A model retention policy was developed from the study. Purpose. The purpose of the study was to determine if there were differences between teachers and administrators regarding their perceptions of the importance of specific characteristics used in retention policy. Based on the available research, a model policy that suggests guidelines for determining the retention of a student in grade was developed. Procedure. Questionnaires were sent to 93 California school districts. Ninety-three administrators and 372 teachers were surveyed. Three hundred and five questionnaires were returned. The survey results were analyzed to compare administrator and teacher responses to the importance of retention characteristics. Comparisons were also made between urban, rural and suburban school districts. The Chi Square statistics were used for all comparisons with the .05 level of confidence chosen for all inferential tests. Findings. Administrators and teachers consistently agreed on the five most common reasons that should be considered in a retention policy. These were academic achievement, teacher evaluation of student progress, emotional maturity, previous retention and parental support to the recommendation for retention. Overall, there was no significant difference between teachers and administrators in their perceptions of the importance of individual retention characteristics. The items that had significant differences were low importance items. There was no significant difference between teachers and administrators by districts. Recommendations. This study should be replicated since many teachers did not indicate their grade levels on the questionnaires. A study should be made to help classify educational terms such as academic achievement and emotional maturity. Long term studies should be done to follow up students who have been retained to determine if the retention was beneficial. A study should be done to better determine the entry age of students and the effect entry age has on retentions.

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