Encyclopedia of Adolescence

Living Edition
| Editors: Roger J.R. Levesque

Grade Retention: Assessing its Role in Students’ Academic and Personal Wellbeing Outcomes

  • Andrew J. Martin
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-32132-5_175-2


This essay examines the effects of grade retention on students’ academic (e.g., achievement, motivation, engagement, dropout) and personal wellbeing (e.g., self-esteem, peer relationships, emotional adjustment) outcomes. Based on a generally consistent line of evidence dating back to the 1970s, it is concluded that the effects of grade retention appear to be negative, with impacts more salient for academic outcomes than personal wellbeing outcomes. However, the essay also points out that these negative effects must be interpreted in the context of numerous caveats and additional considerations. Encouragingly, rather than rely on grade retention as an immediate or default response to academic and other difficulties, it is evident there are effective educational and policy responses that can assist young people’s development through school, some of which are discussed herein.

Grade retention is the practice of retaining a student in the same grade for (usually) an additional...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia