Date Approved


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Johnson, Ane


Promotion (School)


Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


Educational leaders nationwide cannot decisively agree on a preference for either social promotion or grade retention. Throughout history varied opinions have stimulated divergent public policy and practice. The longstanding divergence becomes understandable in light of consistently inconclusive achievement results. Nevertheless, social promotion and grade retention are commonly practiced in a number of New Jersey Public Schools. This study will undertake qualitative research into student experiences of social promotion. It will strive to understand the factors that contribute to some low achieving students passing later grades on merit while others continue to fail. Given this inconsistency of outcome, it is fitting that recent public policy and educational research has suggested that there is a need for specific programs and practices independent of both social promotion and grade retention. The conclusions of this study will be discussed in light of their potential applications to those alternative recommendations.