Date of Conferral

1-1-2010

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Robert McClure

Abstract

Concerned educators have been implementing ninth-grade transition programs to help freshmen adjust to the demands in high school and to reduce ninth-grade failure rates. The purpose of this quasi-experimental quantitative study was to investigate the impact of a ninth-grade transition program. The research questions addressed impact on cumulative GPAs and credits, ninth-grade dropout rates, and student satisfaction with ninth grade as measured by a survey of 120 ninth-grade transition program participants and 102 nonparticipants. Theoretical foundations were provided by the construction of new knowledge based on different background knowledge, different social conditions, and different life experiences. Another theoretical foundation was social control theory predicting less student delinquency if students have strong bonds with society such as school, family, and peers. After using a posttest-only with nonequivalent control-group design and independent-measures t tests for all hypotheses, results showed that the transition program did not have any effect on dropout rates, student satisfaction, and cumulative credits earned. The program had a negative effect on GPAs, possibly because of an increased margin of error (low return rate of parental consent for participation) and a new math curriculum for the experimental group. Recommendations for future study include conducting a longitudinal study with more participants, adding qualitative aspects, and teaching the same curricula to all study participants. Findings are significant for positive social change because they challenge educators to reexamine transition procedures, implement improved strategies, and review their teaching methods to provide students with the skills required by employers for a successful workforce that will contribute to America's well being and strong economic status in the 21st century.