An investigation into primary years retention to improve English learner reading academic performance

The issue of retention due to the lack of student academic achievement in elementary schools is a concern to education leaders. The purpose ofthis quantitative study was to determine ifthere was a measurable difference in achievement in the area of reading on the Language Arts California State Standards test for English learner students who have been retained in grades kindergarten through sixth grade as compared to non-retained ELL students. Research ofELL students took place in a small town in Southern California containing five elementary schools and one middle school. Two English language learner groups were selected to compare data in this particular study. The experimental group consisted ofEnglish language learner students who had been retained at least once in the chosen school district while the control group consisted of students who were not retained but were also English language learners. Data from the two groups was gathered and statistically analyzed using Chi-squared and two-sample t-tests and graph-plotting data. All students in the experimental group were compared to all students in the control group. Students were then separated specifically by grade level to compare retained and non-retained raw CST reading scores. The results of the analyzed data for all tests for each of the groups suggest enough statistical evidence leaning towards the alternative hypothesis and disagreeing with the original hypotheses initially presented. The findings suggest retaining an English language learner student in grades third through sixth does increase student reading test scores as measured through the California State Standards Test.