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Grade retention: teachers’ beliefs and practices and their relationship to school educational policies


Some authors suggest that the high grade retention rates observed in several countries are due to a generalized belief in the benefits of this practice. The present study sought to understand the moderating effect that schools’ educational policies on retention have on the relationship between second grade retention beliefs and practices. An analysis of the guiding documents of 66 schools in Madeira, Portugal, identified the criteria and requirements required for making a retention decision. An online questionnaire that collected the beliefs and retention practices of 300 teachers from this Region was used. A latent profile analysis identified five groups of teachers organized on a continuum from greater denial to greater confidence in the benefits of retention. There was an association between teachers’ beliefs and practices only in schools with no criteria or requirements for the retention decision. The results suggest that teachers need relevant information to guide their decisions and provide greater coherence in the actions of stakeholders.

Grade Retention; Beliefs; Educational Policies

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