Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology


School Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (xv, 208 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Deborah K Kundert

Committee Members

Deborah C May, Jason Northrup, Stacy Williams


Response to intervention (Learning disabled children), Grade repetition, Remedial teaching, School psychologists, Reading

Subject Categories

Educational Psychology


The overall effects of retention have been identified as among the least effective of all educational initiatives; despite this, retention continues to receive support from a variety of professionals within the school setting. More recently, Response to intervention (RTI) has taken the forefront in terms of educational reforms, and many across the US are now implementing the model in an effort to conform to special education law and meet standards. Arguments are being made that practitioners should be implementing formative and evidence-based interventions, such as those found within the RTI framework, to improve the outcomes of struggling students in place of utilizing summative practices such as retention. Limited research has been conducted examining the effects RTI might have on the use of retention. The current study attempted to gain an understanding of this by surveying 260 school psychologists currently practicing in elementary schools across the country. Results suggest that the majority of respondents' schools have a formal policy regarding RTI, and most are implementing RTI on some level. Overall, processes within RTI include the use of multiple data points to make decisions, and while retention was considered a viable option within RTI, a decreasing trend in retention rates was reported. There are, however, continuing issues with implementing retention, including the lack of formal policy, decisions being based on abstract criteria (e.g., maturity levels), and limited follow up of students. Regarding specific interventions within RTI, the majority were identified as instructional strategies that are most often implemented in the area of reading. Conversely, alternative interventions used in place of retention were programmatic in nature. A number of comments indicated that the roles of school psychologists are much more limited within the area of retention in comparison to RTI. Although it is clear school psychologists are not as involved in retention practices as they are in RTI, they expressed numerous opinions against retention. An important implication for school psychology is the need for practioners to take a more active role in sharing their knowledge and training with others within the school system to disseminate important, accurate information concerning evidence-based practices.