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Teacher Belief Systems and Retention David Franklin, Ed.D. Disclaimer This presentation may upset you, challenge your beliefs and make you angry. If the feelings of outrage start to overwhelm you, please use a paper bag that I have provided you. These are not trick questions: Why do you believe that a Big Mac is not good for you? Why do you put sun block on? Question: Why are children retained? Poor grades Immature Behavior Reading Skills Language Development Size Why do we retain even when: The vast majority of research indicates that: retention does not serve any educational purpose harm’s a student’s self-concept leads to increases in disruptive behavior, ambivalence towards school, aggressive actions students retained during elementary school are between 2 and 11 times more likely to drop out of high school than non-retained students Jimerson, Anderson, and Whipple (2002) National Statistics In the middle grades, the National Educational Longitudinal Survey in 1988 (NCES, 1989) found that one fifth of all eighth graders had repeated at least one grade, with the proportion climbing to one out of three eighth graders from low-income families A more recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics (2007) reports that 11% of public school students in kindergarten through grade 12 had been retained. State by State The number of students retained in states that do keep records is staggering. In 1995-96, Florida retained 96,753 students; Georgia retained 51,044; Tennessee retained 45,498; Wisconsin retained 19,391; and Massachusetts retained 18,298. Darling-Hammond (1997), found four million students were retained in 1994. American Federation of Teachers President Sandra Feldman (1997) estimated that more than half of all students in many urban districts repeat at least one grade before they leave school, with or without a diploma. Inner-City Inner city schools are experiencing dropout rates of 50% or more (U.S. Census Bureau, 2005). Current research suggests that 50% of students who have been retained will drop out of high school. A recent study found that more than one-third of ninth graders from the fall 2001 entering class in the Los Angeles Unified School District failed to get promoted to the tenth grade (Silver, Saunders, & Zarate, 2008). International Retention rates in the United States are comparable to Haiti and Sierra Leone, while contrasting sharply with most industrialized nations (e.g., Japan and most European nations), where less than 1% of the school- aged population is retained each year (Smith & Shepard, 1987). Big Picture Retained students have lower levels of academic adjustment (i.e., a combination of achievement, behavior, and attendance) at the end of grade 11, are more likely to drop out of high school by age 19, are less likely to receive a diploma by age 20, are less likely to be enrolled in a postsecondary education program, received lower education/employment-status ratings, are paid less per hour, and receive poorer employment- competence ratings at age 20 in comparison to a group of non-retained, low-achieving students. How do Student Feel About Retention? Anderson, Jimerson, and Whipple (2005) documented that sixth grade students rated grade retention as the most stressful life event, similar to the loss of a parent and going blind. ARUSD Retention Rates Year Number of Students Retained 2010 106 2009 97 2008 220 2007 284 2006 307 2005 351 2004 376 Teacher Demographic Factors Research study looked at teacher ethnicity, experience, gender and education level Effect Size / Cohen’s d The following teacher demographics have the largest effect size: African-American ethnicity. Teachers with 10-14 years of experience. Male teachers. Teacher with only a bachelor’s degree. Survey Results Years of Experience Teacher with 0-4 years of experience retain at twice the levels of teacher with 10-14 years of experience Findings The years of experience and education level clusters indicated a decrease in the effectiveness of retention in both primary and upper elementary grade levels as the education level and years of experience level rose. The belief that retention labels a student in either grades K-3 or 4-5 was rejected throughout all demographic clusters. The idea that students should never be retained was ranked the lowest. The questionnaire item regarding the perception that success begins at home had the highest ranked responses. The African American and Asian clusters reported higher values than the Hispanic and White clusters. The belief that the A-F grading system is fair yielded some statistical differences in the Ethnicity cluster. White and Asian teachers in this sample statistically believe the A-F grading system is fair at a higher rate than Hispanic and African American teachers. There was no statistical difference between the use of the A-F grading system and the belief that it is a fair system for all students A difference between female and male teachers in the belief that retention can help a student catch up to their peers in K-3 and 4-5 was evident. The number of years of experience played a significant factor in how a participant responded in all areas of focus There was no variation between the use of the A-F grading system and the belief that it is a fair system for all students Communication Teachers’ and parents’ perceptions of communicative methods must be explored and suggestions for improving communication between schools and families given for all stakeholders. Parent Involvement It is important to consider cultural variations among parents/families and the ways in which cultural factors may interact with the school’s outreach. Policy changes that encourage parent involvement, increasing understanding among administrators, teachers and staff, and inviting parents’ involvement in all aspects of their children’s education are proactive strategies that may make parent involvement more feasible English Language Development With English Language Learners at a higher risk of retention than their native English- speaking counterparts, teachers must broaden their instructional toolbox to meet the diverse needs of their students. Despite efforts of educators to recognize, promote, and integrate the knowledge and cultural and literacy practices of English Language Learners into the classroom, many U.S. schools remain unresponsive to their unique needs. Extended Learning Time Summer Bridge Programs After-school Programs Giving students additional instructional time after school or in summer school, as opposed to retaining them for a year, also may reduce the risk of students dropping out due to being overage for grade. Grading Systems Reforming inequitable grading systems is a key factor in decreasing retention rates. Eliminate the “zero” Schools must provide multiple modes of assessment and flexible use of time for summative or evaluative assessments. Thank you! Questions?