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ERIC Number: ED557143
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 146
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3212-7338-0
The Influence of the Freshman Academy Model on the English End of Course Test Scores and Promotion Rates of First Time Ninth Grade Students
Kerns, Claretta M.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, South Carolina State University
The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of high school transition strategies for ninth grade students in comparison to the traditional high school experience of first time ninth grade students. This study compared the English End-of-Course (EOC) test scores of first time ninth grade students in a traditional high school setting to those scores of students in a freshman academy. The study also highlighted the characteristics of freshman academy programs and their effect on transition, student performance and their influence on promotion rates and retention rates. The study is significant because studies show that ninth grade students benefit academically and socially from being in a separate freshman facility than a facility with upperclassmen (Riddle, 2013; Rivers, 2012; Uvaas & McKevitt, 2013; Horwitz & Snipes, 2008). Certain characteristics of freshman academies distinguish them from traditional high schools, help shore up entering freshman students, and provide a solid foundation for students to have a successful high school career (Kingery, et al., 2011). There is a need for measures to help ease the transition of students through ninth grade. This study used a mixed methods methodology to address the first research question. The remaining research questions were addressed exclusively with quantitative techniques (i.e. South Carolina school report card and Powerschool data). There were two participant schools for school years 2008-2012. South Carolina school report cards provided archival data of English End of Course (EOC) test results. District offices provided promotion, retention, and student demographic data for the respective schools. At the freshman academy, 28 teachers completed a teacher survey. A total of two principals, four assistant principals, and five guidance counselors were interviewed at both schools. The freshman academy data set comprised of 527 first time freshman students (for school year 2008-2009) and the traditional high school data set comprised of 220 first time freshman students (for school year 2008-2009). The study utilized SPSS for data analysis and descriptive statistics were used for each comparison group. Archival data was analyzed using t-test and chi-square test. Gender, Ethnicity, Free/Reduced Lunch included and controlled through multiple regression. All tests were performed at 0.05 level of significance. This study revealed that innovative orientation and transition programs are critical to the transition of rising ninth graders, whether they occur in a freshman academy or a four-year high school. What is significant is the presence of a specialized program to ease transition to high school that included academic expectations, curricular interventions and social structures that include the relationship of faculty and staff with students at a ninth grade academy. This study also highlighted the importance of pre-planning, initial implementation and evaluation of an educational reform program at the school level. The findings of this study acknowledged the critical contributions of school level faculty, counselors, and administrative staff to student achievement and promotion. While teachers' perceptions of the effect of the freshman academy model on the organizational aspects within the school, teaching factors, and administrative functions were generally positive, the study did not find that students who attend a freshman academy their ninth grade year had higher academic performance than students attending a traditional high school did. There were no differences in the retention and promotion rates between the two schools. Similarly, there was no significant difference between the graduation rates of SFA and THS students. SFA witnessed a graduation rate of 81.8% and THS had a graduation rate of 83.6%. It is recommended that the study is repeated with a larger sample size, i.e. more than one freshman academy and more than one traditional high school. Research should include traditional high schools with populations greater than 1500 students. Academic measurement for study should be English, Algebra 1, and Biology EOC. Use a matched sample of students from each school. Researcher should provide all schools with a standard format for reporting the required data. [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; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Carolina