Mishea DeanFollow




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Rollen Fowler


assessment, high-stakes testing, standards-based, standards-based grade reporting, student retention, traditional grading


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Leadership | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


Student retention is a contentious issue that has spawned considerable debate among school leaders and policymakers. NCLB's accountability requirement has led to the development of a standards-based grading system to ensure students master content and so schools can meet AYP goals. This causal comparative study examined whether a change from a traditional grading system to a standards-based system affected the student retention frequency rate. Convenience sampling was used to collect retention data on third and fifth grade students who attended four Title 1 schools in northeast Georgia during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years when the grading system changed. A Fisher's Exact test was used to determine if there was a difference between students' retention rates under a traditional grading system and a standards-based grading system. No statistically significant difference was found between the traditional and standards-based grading systems for reducing the frequency of retention for both third grade students and fifth grade students. Gender differences in retention were examined but no statistically significant difference was found suggesting that the change from traditional grading to a standards-based grading system did not affect gender retention rates among third and fifth grade students. The results from this study suggests that the frequency of grade retention with a traditional grading system was not significantly different from the frequency of grade retention that occurred under a standards-based grading system for third and fifth grade students and did not significantly affect the frequency of retention for females and males.