Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award


Degree Type



Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Susan Padgett-Harrison

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Stockdale

Third Advisor

Dr. Sheryl Croft

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Tak Chan


Ninth Grade Academies were designed to smooth the transition of rising ninth graders academically and behaviorally. Current research has addressed the long-term effects of Ninth Grade Academies on academics, behavior, and graduation rates. This literature has shown the Ninth Grade Academy to be moderately effective in improving graduation rates but have only limited success in retention, disciplinary action rates, and academic performance. To measure the impact a Ninth Grade Academy has on tenth grade performance in academics, behavior, and attendance data was compared from two schools: School A (which has a Ninth Grade Academy) and School B (which has a traditional Ninth Grade). This comparison was not randomly assigned to the intervention, previous performance in academics, ethnicity, or gender. The study found no significant statistical difference in Tenth Grade scores when compared to Ninth Grade scores when compared. The findings show three academic areas in Tenth Grade had a statistically significant difference when compared to their Ninth Grade counterparts. No statistically significant difference exists between disciplinary and attendance data for both schools. This research study could assist school leaders with better understanding a Ninth Grade Academy as an intervention and its impact on short term learning. This study will help school leaders make a transitional plan for students moving into the Tenth Grade. This study will assist school leaders address behavioral and attendance concerns in their character education plan and School Improvement Plan. Lastly, this study will help school leaders determine the value of a Ninth Grade Academy for their school as an appropriate transitional intervention for their school.