School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Lisa Foster


grade-level retention, social promotion, response to intervention, multi-tiered system of supports, quantitative, causal-comparative, two-way MANOVA


Education | Educational Leadership


As contemporary educational models progress at an increasing rate toward assessment-rich, data-based decision-making to support academic growth and achievement, the orientation and perception of educational stakeholders has remained a key interpretive factor in determining the cumulative trajectory for low-performing students in inclusive settings. The purpose of this quantitative, causal-comparative study was to identify whether there was a difference in the perception of grade retention and Response to Intervention (RtI) practices among educational stakeholders in various professional roles working in states with and without policies regarding grade retention. A sample of teachers, leaders, and educational specialists from 27 US states completed the Grade Retention Survey and the Problem Solving /Response to Intervention Beliefs Survey. A two-way Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) revealed that the effect of educators’ role on their perception of grade retention (reactive practices) and perception of RtI (proactive practices) is not significantly different (p > .05) for educators working in states with and without grade retention policies. Subsequent individual Analyses of Variance (ANOVA) revealed a statistically significant main effect (p < .05) for educator role on perception of grade retention but not for grade retention policy. Post-hoc analysis revealed that teachers reported a more positive perception of grade retention than leaders or specialists. The present research offers meaningful insight related to the targeted facets of decision-making used by educational stakeholders to address student underachievement at the elementary and middle school level. Further research is recommended to explore variations to participant demographics, sampling methodology, and factors attributed to the dependent and independent variable groups.