Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Grade repetition; Reading (Elementary);


The purpose of this study was to evaluate gains in reading achievement made by students retained in first grade or placed in a pre-first transition room. In addition, the study examined the instructional environment of the retained and transition room students. There were four major questions which guided the study: (a) Do students in rural schools retained in first grade or placed in a pre-first grade transition room demonstrate improved reading performance during their final year in first grade when compared to their reading performance during the transition or retained year as measured by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills? (b) If rural first grade students or transition room students experience growth in reading achievement in their final first grade year, is the achieved level maintained over the next two years? (c) Do rural students placed in a transition room or retained in first grade experience similar growth in reading achievement as students with similar first grade Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores but who were not retained? (d) What is the instructional environment for transition and retained students in rural schools?

The Iowa Test of Basic Skills reading subtest was used to measure the students reading achievement. A t test was used to compare the individual students scores to determine reading growth. A teacher belief interview was used to elicit the teachers' beliefs and practices. The interviews were qualitatively analyzed using a constant comparative method to develop categories.

The retained and transition room students showed significant reading improvement on the ITBS reading subtest during their final year of first grade. However, they did not maintain the growth shown during their final first grade year over the next two year. There was no significant difference in reading achievement between the retained or transition room students and the socially promoted students on their third grade ITBS reading subtests.

All of the teachers interviewed believed that retention was beneficial. Maturity and the age of the student was stated as the things most often considered when making a decision about retaining a student.

Reading instruction included skills and phonics taught from the basal, writing activities related to reading or other curriculum areas, and choice of reading books.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Deborah L. Tidwell, Chair


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Date Original


Object Description

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