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ERIC Number: ED550689
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 169
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2679-5121-2
The Freshman Challenge: An Examination of Early Adolescent Learners and the Use of Freshman Support Practices in Massachusetts Public High Schools
Callahan, Mary E.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Lowell
The transition to high school and the freshman year experience is challenging for most students. This study examined the issues that are often problematic and can prevent many early adolescent learners from thriving during their first year of high school. The literature review focuses on three strands salient to this study: early adolescent development and schooling; the freshman year dilemma for students and high schools; and effective transition supports for freshmen. The study findings provide extensive descriptive data regarding school characteristics, demographics, student performance data, the organizational frameworks of public high schools, and how these factors relate to the difficulties freshman students face. The study established how Massachusetts' public high schools respond to freshman needs by examining the use, types, and scope of support practices implemented to assist freshmen. Findings show that overwhelmingly Massachusetts public high schools use freshmen support practices. Although no significant relationships between the use of support practices and student performance outcomes (including freshman honor roll, freshman on-time promotion, retention, attendance rates and school dropout rates) were found, the findings indicate schools that incorporate a moderate number of combined support practices demonstrate an increase in performance outcomes scores. The study also found that schools with the lowest success outcomes rates use the highest number of support practices. In fact, a positive association was found between increased dropout rates, increased freshman retention rates and an increased number of support practices and programs implemented in Massachusetts public high schools. This suggests that many low performing schools are attempting to address freshman issues and improve poor performance outcomes rates in their schools through the use of extensive transition practices and programs. These schools also share some common school characteristics and demographics. The findings from this study provide information to educators about public high schools and schooling, the developmental and academic needs of freshmen, and how schools can support their freshman students through the use of effective transition practices. [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: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts