Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Matthews, Jerry

Committee Member

Davis, James

Committee Member

McGrath, Vincent

Committee Member

Lindley, Clyde

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Education Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Leadership and Foundations


The purpose of this mixed-methods case study was to examine teachers’ beliefs toward in-grade retention in a K-2 school. This study focused on how teachers acquire beliefs regarding grade retention, and their knowledge of research regarding the effectiveness of retention. Witmer, Hoffman and Nottis (2004) contend that teacher beliefs toward grade retention may not be based on research, but on peer influence, past practice, or administrative policy. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected to examine teacher beliefs in a K- 2 school. Quantitative data were collected through the Teacher Opinion Survey (TOS) and Personal Experiences and Retention Practices (PERP). A total of ten K-2 teachers volunteered to complete the survey instruments. Additionally, six K-2 teachers and the school principal were interviewed to collect qualitative data. Data were analyzed to triangulate the findings. This study concluded that teachers continue to retain students as a remedy for academic failure, contrary to what some researchers like Shepard and Smith (1989), who decried that schools were continuing the practice of retention despite research findings that indicated little or no academic achievement is gained though retention. Findings further indicated that teachers disagreed that retention failed to improve achievement, failed to inspire students to buckle down and behave better, and failed to develop students’ social adjustment and self-concept.