Phillip NeffFollow

Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Coaxum III, James


Grade repetition; Education, Elementary


Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


Many primary teachers (grades K-4) believe that retention is useful in maintaining grade level standards in light of high stakes state testing (Witmer, Hoffman, & Nottis, 2004). Despite perceived academic advantages, there is a great deal of research that suggests that retention may cause damage in later years, such as increased drop-out rates, while only temporarily addressing the immediate academic issues (Bonvin, Bless, & Schuepbach, 2008). The purpose of my action research project was to give teachers and ultimately students alternatives to grade retention. Through my action research project, Billingsport Elementary School changed from a culture that endorsed retention to a culture that avoided retention by exploring best practice alternatives to grade retention. Data was collected through a mixed method approach. Initially twenty-two educators were interviewed. The intention of the interviews was to begin to develop a global understanding of the interventions that teachers would develop if they were able to put their ideals into action. In this manner, I shared leadership and offered the teachers an opportunity to feel as though they were part of a community of learners responsible for every student's success. Through this action research project additional educational services that previously did not exist at Billingsport Elementary School were offered. The services offered were a summer school program in 2010, and an afterschool tutoring program which took place during the 2010-2011 school year. Data revealed that the programs were successful in reducing the total number of grade retentions.