Effect of retention in elementary grades on dropping out of school early

Published on Dec 1, 2017in Journal of School Psychology3.076
· DOI :10.1016/j.jsp.2017.06.003
Jan N. Hughes41
Estimated H-index: 41
(A&M: Texas A&M University),
Qian Cao3
Estimated H-index: 3
(A&M: Texas A&M University)
+ 2 AuthorsCarissa Analise Cerda3
Estimated H-index: 3
(A&M: Texas A&M University)
Abstract This study investigated the effect of grade retention in elementary school on dropping out of school by age 16. Participants were 538 (54% males) ethnically diverse, academically at-risk students recruited from Texas schools into a longitudinal study when they were in first grade (mean age = 6.58). Propensity score weighting successfully equated the 171 retained students and the 367 continuously promoted students on 65 covariates assessed in grade 1. Fifty-one students dropped out of school by age 16 and 487 persisted. Retention (vs. promotion) led to an increased early dropout rate (odds ratio = 1.68), even after controlling for 65 covariates associated with school achievement, retention, or both. Implications of findings for dropout prevention and grade retention policies are discussed.
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