Date of Award

Spring 4-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia Conner

Third Advisor

Dr. Terry Reid


With increased educational accountability, the rate of student retention has risen in the United States. The purpose of this study was to analyze the costs and benefits of retaining primary (K-2) students in an urban district by using a methodological triangulation. Academic growth in reading was compared from the year prior to retention to the year retained to establish if there was a significant academic growth difference. Trends were also identified in regards to gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status (SES), and school type. Elementary principals were surveyed to gain their perspective in regards to benefits and costs of retention. Principals reported they had seen benefits to retention in some cases, but also students who showed no gains due to retention. They expressed the need for more research regarding retention in order to make more informed decisions. The financial cost of retaining students for the three years studied in this urban district was calculated to give a financial perspective. Statistical landmarks were used to show background for the academic growth portion of the study including mean, median, range, and standard deviation. Overall data analysis, using paired t-tests, showed both kindergarten boys and girls exhibited reading growth with White students who qualified for free meals at Title I schools having the greatest gains. All groups of first grade students showed negative reading growth during the year of retention with variables differing depending on the year studied.


Copyright 2012