Title: First-grade retention: Effects on children’s psycho-social growth in the early and middle elementary years
Authors: Goos, Mieke ×
Van Damme, Jan
Onghena, Patrick
Petry, Katja
De Fraine, Beatrijs #
Issue Date: Aug-2009
Conference: Biannual meeting of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) location:Amsterdam, the Netherlands date:25-29 August 2009
Abstract: The transition from kindergarten into first grade marks a period in which children’s life profoundly changes: not only do children’s cognitive and psycho-social skills gain momentum, but also their learning environment undergoes major changes. Unfortunately, not all students succeed equally well in passing through these early years of elementary education: some children show slower academic and/or psycho-social development than expected and the question often raised by parents, educators, and policy makers is what to do with these children. An internationally frequently applied measure for dealing with early problems in school is first-grade retention. Yet, despite its popularity, first-grade retention remains a controversial practice. Previous research on the psycho-social effects of early-grade retention has yielded mixed results and, as a consequence, has reinforced this controversy. However, the fact that most studies show methodological shortcomings - following children in the short run only, comparing early-grade repeaters with either their younger grade-mates (i.e., same-grade comparisons) or their age-mates who got promoted to a higher grade (i.e., same-age comparisons), selection bias, not accounting for dependence among observations - might partly explain these inconsistencies. In an attempt to provide an appropriate answer to these methodological issues, this study examines the (differential) effects of first-grade retention on children’s psycho-social growth, by tracking the experience of a cohort of first-graders until the age of 10. Moreover, we consider both same-grade and same-age comparisons. In addition, we take the hierarchical structure in our data into account by using three-level growth curve models. Meanwhile, we control for approximately 30 covariates by utilizing three-level estimated propensity scores. Our analyses are still in progress. In line with previous international studies regarding early-grade retention psycho-social effects, we hypothesize that same-grade comparisons, as well as same-age comparisons, on average, will reveal no ‘stigmatizing’ effects.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IMa
Appears in Collections:Methodology of Educational Sciences
Parenting and Special Education
Education and Training
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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