Considering the disparate impact of test-based retention policy on low-income, minority, and English language learner children in Texas




Patrick, Ertha Smith

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This dissertation evaluates disparate impact of test-based retention (TBR) policy on historically disadvantaged student groups in the State of Texas, and determines school characteristics that statistically predict retention and may contribute to disparate impact. The research literature on TBR is limited, as most grade retention research precedes the increase in use of TBR policy across the United States.

Based on descriptive analysis, there were considerable increases in retention rates for low-income, African American, Latino, and English Language Learner (ELL) children compared to their less-disadvantaged counterparts, after TBR was implemented. Using multiple regression analysis, schools with higher percentages of low-income students, ELL students, beginning teachers, and higher percentages of low-income students in their school district were found to have higher retention rates while schools with higher percentages of White students, White teachers, and Latino teachers were found to have lower retention rates. Additionally, school retention rates were found to vary according to accountability rating.



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