A Causal-comparative Study Between Social Promotion and Grade Retention

A Causal-comparative Study Between Social Promotion and Grade Retention

Author: 
Candus Jack
Program of study: 
Ed.D.
Abstract: 
The topic of social promotion and grade retention creates continuous discussion among educators. This study examined whether social promotion or grade retention have an effect on student achievement. Purposive sampling was used to gather data from fifth grade students enrolled at two elementary schools in the 2013-2014 school year and sixth-graders enrolled at one middle school in the 2014-2015 school year within the same feeder pattern in Houston, Texas. Paired samples and independent samples t-tests helped determine if there was a statistical difference in test scores between low-performing students retained in fifth grade and low-performing students socially promoted to sixth grade. This study examined through a causal-comparative design that social promotion and grade retention have no effect on student achievement. Standardized test scores from low-performing students determined if statistically significant differences existed in achievement levels of students who were either promoted or retained the following school year. The quantitative measure used in this study was the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) Mathematics. A discussion of the research presented in this study provided an overview of the history of social promotion and grade retention and offered viewpoints on both topics as they relate to low-performing students. The theoretical framework focused on high-stakes testing standards, its’ impact on student achievement, and factors affecting students socially promoted and retained. Study recommendations included expanding the sample size of students across the district to observe different demographics, and to consider exploring external factors that affect student performance within both groups.
Dedication: 
This document is dedicated to God, my parents, Wilson Jack, Jr., Barbara Jack, and my son, Treylan Andrew Brown, for being my inspiration to continue my educational journey. My parents have instilled the importance of education within me from a very young age. Their support and dedication to decisions made in my life truly matter. I hope my son is encouraged to pursue life-long learning and never become afraid of taking risks. By believing in God, our Savior, anything is possible. I am proud to say His grace has been sufficient, my parent’s encouraging words presented me with ambition, and my son’s unconditional love has given me hope. I love you all eternally.
Acknowledgements: 
Completing this dissertation has been one of the most difficult and timeconsuming endeavor of my life. Thanks and glory is owed God, for gracing me with all essentials needed to embark on this journey. I would not have been able to succeed with this task if not for the tremendous amount of love and encouragement from my family and friends. To my son, Treylan, thank you for being such a good boy. Your patience with me during this process shows that at such a very young age, you are patient, considerate, and understand how much I love you. I am so glad that in this process, you remained my number one priority. To my parents and family, thank you for being patient with me in moments when I was not present to hang out. This journey was a difficult one, but you helped make things smooth for me by supporting me throughout this process. I am forever grateful for your unconditional love and support. I would like to thank my sisters for listening to me complain at times and for always having encouraging words to say when I felt discouraged. To my brother, I would like to thank you for stepping in to look out for me when obstacles hit me hard. To my friends and family, I would like to thank you for believing in me and for understanding when I had to decline invitations to remain diligent in my writing. I would like to say a special thank you to my dissertation chair, Dr. Thomas Griffin. I definitely would not have been able to complete this dissertation without your expertise and feedback. I want to thank Dr. Thomas Deering and Dr. Richard Hall for acting as my committee members. Finally, I would like to thank my parents, Wilson Jack, Jr. and Barbara Jack for everything. I always had the desire to pursue this journey just to honor your names as Dr. Jack. Your hard work and commitment has always motivated me to set the same expectations for my son. Daddy, although you have reached your paradise, your memories are close to my heart. Mom, I thank you for being so strong during trying years and for always caring. You both were my first teachers and my greatest influence. You encouraged me to believe in myself and not settle for anything less than my best in anything I set out to do.