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									Teacher Belief Systems
         and Retention
        David Franklin, Ed.D.
   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

   Why do you put sun block
   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
   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
   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).
   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
   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
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
   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
   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
   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
   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
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
Thank you!

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