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dc.contributor.authorHuddleston, Andrew Prescott
dc.description.abstractIn this multiple case study, the author analyzes participants’ responses to Georgia’s test-based grade retention policy in reading. Organized into a manuscript format, three articles comprise the body of this dissertation. In the first manuscript, the author uses Maxwell’s method of literature reviews (as described in “Literature Reviews of, and for, Educational Research: A Commentary on Boote and Beile's ‘Scholars Before Researchers’” in a 2006 issue of Educational Researcher), to make the following argument: although some studies have documented gains in academic achievement through test-based grade retention, there is increasing evidence that these gains have occurred by limiting the educational opportunities for the most vulnerable of students. In the second manuscript, the author interviewed, observed, and collected documents regarding ten fifth graders (who were receiving intervention in reading), their parents, teachers, and administrators as they navigated Georgia’s test-based retention policy. Drawing on Bourdieu’s concepts of field, capital, and habitus (as described in Outline of a Theory of Practice (1972/1977)), the author found that within the field of test-based retention, the students and parents in the study brought cultural, social, and economic capital that received little value in school, and they readily accepted that the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) was trustworthy and retention was fair. However, believing that retaining students would ultimately reproduce the inequities the policy claimed to address, the teachers and administrators used an appeals procedure to ensure that retention was not based solely on test scores. In the third manuscript, the author uses Bourdieu and Passeron’s theoretical concept of reproduction (as described in Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture (1970/1990)) to analyze students’ use of the “search and destroy” method of reading within Georgia’s test-based grade retention policy. Under the policy, the students brought capital that received little attention, yet they readily accepted that testing was trustworthy, retention was helpful, and accountability was important. The students had little confidence in themselves as readers and felt that reading test passages was unnecessary or too difficult. Consequently, they read questions and skimmed passages for key words to find answers, with little success, thus reproducing their difficulties with reading.
dc.subjectBourdieu, Case study, Constant comparative method, Grade repetition, High-stakes testing, Literacy, Social promotion, Search and destroy method of reading, Test-based grade retention
dc.title“Making the difficult choice”
dc.title.alternativeunderstanding Georgia's test-based grade retention policy in reading
dc.description.departmentLanguage and Literacy Education
dc.description.majorReading Education
dc.description.advisorDonna Alvermann
dc.description.committeeDonna Alvermann
dc.description.committeeJames Marshall
dc.description.committeeMelissa Freeman

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