by H. Wayne Light, PhD
An objective standard that takes the guesswork out of difficult grade retention decisions
Purpose: looks at the factors influencing academic achievement and success, and on the impact and effectiveness of school grade retention
Time: 10-15 minutes
Qualification Level: B
This new edition of Light's Retention Scale updates a classic tool designed by a school psychologist with more than 30 years in practice. This 5th edition is based on more than 300 research studies on the factors influencing academic achievement and success, and on the impact and effectiveness of school grade retention. These studies are discussed in the Manual, along with a review of the influence of federal and state education legislation on the factors relating to academic progress and retention.
An analysis of the relevant research studies led to the formulation of 19 categories representing factors to consider in making the retention decision. They include intellectual skills, number of schools attended, age, English-language status, participation of parents in school-related activities, preschool experience, student's motivation, attendance, emotional disorders, and conduct patterns.
The research-based LRS-5 is appropriate to use within Response to Intervention (RTI) approaches.
Improvements in the 5th edition include:
- Addition of a new category (Ability to Focus and Concentrate)
- Renaming of some categories to reflect current theory and research
- Updated scoring criteria
- New interpretation guidelines
- Redesigned, easy-to-use Record Form
- Inclusion of The Principal's Guide to Grade Retention and Promotion in the test kit
Administration and Scoring
The LRS-5 scale is designed to be completed during a parent-teacher conference. The Record Form outlines each of the 19 factors with objective, easy-to-score items. The scale takes 10–15 minutes to complete, and the total score provides guidance about whether grade retention might be helpful or harmful to the student.
The LRS-5 Parent Guide explains the basis for making the retention/no-retention decision. It provides a concise statement of the factors considered and provides parents with assurance that the retention recommendation is based on thoughtful professional findings. This guide is also available in Spanish but must be ordered separately.
Some of the topics discussed in The Principal's Guide to Grade Retention and Promotion (included in the test kit) are:
- Preventing the Need to Retain
- Alternatives to Retention
- Identifying At-Risk Students (Screening Checklist)
- Evaluating student success in the retention year (Best Practices Checklist)
About the author:
H. Wayne Light, PhD, had more than 30 years of experience as a psychologist in private practice and as a school psychologist. He co-authored Beyond Retention, a companion book to the LRS, among other publications. He has received numerous awards, including being named Outstanding School Psychologist in California, Region II, by the California Association of School Psychologists. Dr. Light was a member of the International Honor Society in Psychology (Psi Chi), and was employed as a school psychologist for the Turlock Unified School District in Central California.