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ERIC Number: ED512930
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 126
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1092-7920-7
A Study of the Relationship between the Presence of a Ninth Grade Academy and Student Achievement in South Carolina's Public High Schools
Jordan, Carolyn Joyner
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of South Carolina
This mixed methods study explores the relationship between ninth grade academy in South Carolina public high schools and student achievement in 84 high schools matched on poverty index and school size. The 2007 and 2008 South Carolina school report card data were used to gather information about the individual schools. The presence or absence of a ninth grade academy in 2007 was determined by reading school report card narratives and by canvassing instructional leaders or principals across the state. The South Carolina Department of Education web site provided information on school socio-economic status. These data were used to derive a sample of 42 matched pairs of high schools, ranging from small to large and from low poverty to high poverty. Student achievement is defined in terms of passage rate on the South Carolina 2007 end-of-course examinations in Algebra 1 and English 1, two state-mandated tests in courses typically taken by high school freshmen, and the percentage of students who passed the state exit exam (HSAP) as first-time test takers in 2008, the year that ninth graders of 2007 would have taken the exit exam. Therefore, the sample population in 2007 approximates the same sample of students in 2008. Independent samples "t"-tests were used to compare end-of-course and HSAP passage rate of 42 academy schools with 42 non-academy schools. Although a general assumption is that implementing a ninth grade academy is a reform effort to increase student achievement, the comparison of means in this study indicated no statistically significant difference in performance between the two groups. Although the standardized test data taken from two points in time do not support a relationship between the presence of an academy and student achievement, qualitative data from one large high school with a ninth grade academy offer findings of a different nature. Data from that high school indicate gains in graduation rate since the inception of the academy concept. Administrators, ninth grade academy teachers, and academy students responded to questions regarding perceived strengths and weaknesses of academy implementation. Survey results identified characteristics of the academy structure--teams, common planning for teachers, separation from the rest of the student body for a portion of the day, and attention to cognitive and affective needs of students. Administrators, teachers, and students felt that the academy positively impacts student achievement. School-specific data support that perception. The seeming disparity between achievement data and perception data calls for further study to identify model ninth grade academies and to determine characteristics of successful implementation that may lead to increased academic performance. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Grade 9; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Carolina