The Ecology of Grade Retention in Primary Education - Bridging the Research-Practice gap by Means of Theory-Driven Impact Evaluation
Machteld Vandecandelaere is post-doctoral fellow at the FWO (www.fwo.be).
Prior research on grade retention has failed to provide useful guidelines for policy and practice.Negative effects are often interpreted as a need for alternatives. Nevertheless, along with the ‘does it make a difference’ question, questions of ‘why’, ‘for whom’, ‘under what conditions’ and ‘for which outcomes’ are imperative. This project aims to bridge the research-practice gap through theory-driven impact evaluation. We aim at two major objectives.
1. To disentangle the beliefs and mechanisms that underpin grade retention in order to construct a conceptual model of grade retention. Data will be collected in a collective case study design. The results will enhance a better understanding of empirical findings and will allow to prioritize causal paths to be tested in (2).
2. To empirically test the conceptual model and paths of causal moderation and mediation. The statistical modelling of time-varying treatments and confounding is particularly challenging and has mainly been studied in the field of epidemiology. Therefore, the second objective involves an important methodological component. That is, to adopt and translate techniques from epidemiological research.