The effect of grade repetition on the social/emotional adjustment of infants and primary students

Dianna Kenny*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    The present study examined the effects of repetition on the social/emotional adjustment of students in grades one to five. Subjects (n = 122) were all selected by their schools for repetition at the end of the school year. Of these, 74 repeated the grade and the remaining 48 proceeded to the next grade because these students1parents rejected the schools’ recommendations to repeat their children. All children were pre and post-tested on a range of educational, behavioural and attitudinai measures from multiple perspectives (i.e. teachers, parents and students) to determine the social/emotional effects of repetition on students. Although the repeated group showed a significant improvement in place in grade, analysis of variance yielded very few differences between repeated and promoted students on the academic measures. However, on the social/emotional measures, repeated students were judged by teachers to have better fine and gross motor control, to be achieving better, to be more socially adjusted and more emotionally mature than promoted students. Parents of repeaters rated achievement and attitude towards school as showing more positive change than parents of promoted students. It was concluded that, while repetition is of limited benefit in enhancing academic performance, the gains were sufficient to allow favourable comparisons of repeated students with their new peer groups, and to enhance repeated students’ sense of competence and mastery which, in turn, positively influenced ratings on other aspects of social/emotional adjustment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    JournalThe Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1989


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