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One Step Back or One Step Forward? Effects of Grade Retention and School Retention Composition on Portuguese Students’ Psychosocial Outcomes Using PISA 2018 Data

Joana Pipa () and Francisco Peixoto
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Joana Pipa: CIE-ISPA (Centre for Educational Research-ISPA), ISPA-Instituto Universtiário, Rua Jardim do Tabaco 34, 1149-041 Lisbon, Portugal
Francisco Peixoto: CIE-ISPA (Centre for Educational Research-ISPA), ISPA-Instituto Universtiário, Rua Jardim do Tabaco 34, 1149-041 Lisbon, Portugal

Sustainability, 2022, vol. 14, issue 24, 1-19

Abstract: Grade retention is a common practice applied to academically struggling students within the Portuguese context. Studies investigating the psychological experiences of grade-retained students are still scarce. In addition, most studies tend to neglect the multilevel nature of the school context. This study examines the effects of grade retention in grades 1–9 on Portuguese students’ psychosocial outcomes by the age of 15, using PISA 2018 data. Using a quasi-experimental design through full matching, we reduced the bias between 1362 retained and 4189 promoted students in relevant background variables. Results from the multilevel models showed that retained students, by the age of 15, present lower task orientation and school belonging. In addition, we found that the high retention rates negatively relate to students’ reading self-concept, task orientation, and school valuing and that school retention rates moderate the relationship between students’ retention and the psychosocial variables considered. Overall, these findings suggest detrimental effects of grade retention and that grade retention also affects the promoted peers of retained students.

Keywords: grade retention; psychosocial outcomes; school retention composition; quasi-experimental methods; multilevel modelling; PISA (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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