Grade retention which is better known as ‘staying back’, ‘repeating’ or ‘being held back’, refers to the practice of having a student return to a particular grade level for a subsequent year after having been at that level a full school year. (Wu et al, 2010). The purpose of this paper will be to answer the research question “What are the effects of grade retention?” based on high schools in the United Sates of America. Statistically, with as many as 15% of all American students held back each year and 30-50% held back at least once before ninth grade, the rate of retention has increased by approximately 40% in the last 20years (Wu et al, 2010). This paper will give the reader an overview of the effects grade retention has on students academic performance, socialization and how it eventually leads them to dropout of school. A number of scholarly articles will be used to accomplish this.
The students who are more likely to perform better academically are those who are less rejected and more accepted by their peers. In other words, the retained students performed poorly academically (Wu et al, 2010). A consistent predictor of low reading achievement as well as lower mathematic achievement was retention in grade (McCoy & Reynolds, 1999). Also, as a result of retention in grade being a particular risk factor, retained students are less likely to come to school prepared with books, homework and school supplies or arrive at school on time (Stearns et al, 2007). Moreover, compared to children retained in grades 4-8, children who were retained between kindergarten and 3rd grade were more likely to experience a decline in academic performance. Also, unlike the nonretained children, retained children had lower academic grades and standardized test scores (McCoy & Reynolds, 1999). As such, less effort is put into reaching them and less academic achievement is demanded and/or expected from them as a result of the retention status (Stearns et al, 2007).
Problems with Socialization
Another effect grade retention has on their ability to socialize has to do with their self-esteem. “Unsuccessful school outcomes, such as grade retention, lead to reduction in students’ self-esteem” (Stearns et al. 2007, p. 5). As a result, they turn towards delinquency of various types and problem behaviors and away from academic efforts in an effort to boost their self-esteem. The social bonds of retained students with peers and their ability to bond with their teachers as they go on with their educational careers get ruptured. This is due to the demarcation between their same-aged peers brought about by the retention in grades that may end friendships (Stearns et al, 2007). In short, compared to the continuously promoted students, retained students are most likely to have fewer friends (Stearns et al, 2007).
In addition, as a result of the stigma that comes with retention, students’ abilities to form later bonds with teachers and other...