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Exploring the Association Between Grade Retention and Dropout: A Longitudinal Study Examining Socio-Emotional, Behavioral, and Achievement Characteristics of Retained Students

Abstract

Previously published research has not moved beyond studying the general association between retention and high school dropout. This longitudinal study seeks to evaluate within-group differences, exploring the characteristics of those students who are retained and subsequently drop out as compared to those students who are retained and do not drop out. A transactional-ecological view of development is presented to assist in situating the findings within a framework of long-term outcomes across development. The results of this study suggest that there are early socio-emotional and behavioral characteristics that distinguish which retained students are most likely to drop out of high school. In addition, maternal level of education and academic achievement in the secondary grades were also associated with high school graduation status. These findings provide information that extend beyond the association between grade retention and later dropout. In particular, this investigation suggests that it is especially important to attend to the socio-emotional and behavioral adjustment of children throughout their schooling to facilitate both their immediate and long-term academic success.

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Correspondence to Shane R. Jimerson.

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Jimerson, S.R., Ferguson, P., Whipple, A.D. et al. Exploring the Association Between Grade Retention and Dropout: A Longitudinal Study Examining Socio-Emotional, Behavioral, and Achievement Characteristics of Retained Students. Contemp School Psychol 7, 51–62 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03340889

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Keywords

  • Longitudinal study
  • Grade retention
  • Dropout
  • Socio-emotional adjustment
  • Aggression
  • Social skills
  • Maternal level of education
  • Achievement