Observing the Academic Performance and Student Graduation Rates of Grade 8 Students Who Failed Texas State Assessments

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

Summer 2013


High-stakes assessments have been a major factor in education reform and student success in the 21st century. Assessments are used to measure a student's ability to transfer classroom learning to formalized assessments. In the state of Texas, legislative policy was implemented to ensure that all fifth and eighth graders are prepared for proceeding grades. Students in grades 5 and 8 are required to pass coursework and pass Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) in reading and math to be eligible for promotion (Texas Education Agency, 2009). The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) determine the long-term impact of student success or failure on state examinations in 8th grade in relation to student achievement and graduation in high school, and (2) to examine the perceptions that principals have on high-stakes assessments. This mixed designed study analyzed TAKS data over a period of 5 years. In addition, a purposefully selected group of principals were interviewed about their thoughts and feelings towards retention and promotion trends. To date, most of the research related to this subject has measured the academic achievement of elementary students who have been retained, or solely measured the perceptions of principals. Findings from this study suggest that neither promotion nor retention of students who have not exhibited adequate performance on high-stakes assessments benefit students in later years of schooling. Findings also suggest that the voices of all educational stakeholders are vital in decisions to promote or retain students who do not demonstrate adequate performance on state assessments. The state of Texas has moved to a new testing accountability system and has implemented Student Success Initiative (SSI) requirements for students who fail to meet the high-stakes assessment passing standards. Results of this research provide all education stakeholders insight into student success and failure on high-stakes assessment and its impact on student completion.


Wayne Linek

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Leadership