Date of Award

Summer 6-23-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Rinyka Allison, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Debra Stone, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Juan Vives, Ph.D.


Retention continues to be an ongoing issue discussed among educators. Current research indicates that males are more likely to repeat a grade than females, and consistent findings indicate that retention rates are higher for minority students. The research question explored the perception of eight elementary principals as it relates to the retention of female versus male students in rural areas. Interviews and focus group sessions were used in this study to allow triangulation of data. Data collected was analyzed, and a total of seven major themes emerged: (a) early intervention/retention; (b) policies and procedures; (c) gender bias; (d) students’ academic ability; (e) level of maturity/age; (f) parental support and involvement; and (g) teacher to student relationships. A number of implications for policy change are recommended to strengthen and improve current educational programs and practices. Recommendations are that further research is conducted on how relationships teachers develop with male students directly impact their academic performance, tracking of male retention candidates to determine their educational success, the impact of non-traditional family dynamics and the influence it has on students’ education, and the success rate of single-gender programs.