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Grade retention and academic self-concept : a multilevel analysis towards the effects of schoolsU+2019 retention composition

Book Contribution - Book Abstract Conference Contribution

Previous studies on the impact of grade retention on academic self-concept suffer from inconclusive findings. This article examines whether grade retention decreases academic self-concept and whether this relationship is mediated by sense of belonging. Moreover, we aim to contextualize retention research by accounting for school retention composition. Based on reference group theory, the effect of grade retention composition upon academic self-concept is expected to be twofold. Normative reference grouping leads to the assumption that students in high retention composition schools will exhibit lower levels of academic self-concept, because retaineesU+2019 values are more likely to spread across all students within the same school. Comparative reference grouping might lead to a moderation effect of retention composition on the relationship between grade retention and academic self-concept. Multilevel analyses on ISCY-data, consisting of 2,354 students in 30 secondary schools in Ghent (Flanders) revealed a negative association between grade retention and academic self-concept, which was mediated by sense of belonging. Students in high retention composition schools had a significantly lower academic self-concept. At last, the impact of being retained upon academic self-concept is not affected by the number of retainees within a given context. Implications are discussed.
Book: American Sociological Association, 115th Annual Meeting, Abstracts
Number of pages: 1
Publication year:2020