Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department or School

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Ronald Williamson, EdD, Chair

Committee Member

Jaclynn Tracy, PhD

Committee Member

Muralidharan Nair, PhD


There is a need to become economically sensible when deciding on new school initiatives and reforms. This is partly due to increasing accountability and tightening school budgets. Hertzog & Morgan (1999) found the freshman year sets the tone for a student‟s entire high school career. Yet, frequently, ninth-graders struggle to feel connected to school and therefore experience failure. Often times this period of failure is related to the developmental process the ninth-grader experiences. Many ninth-graders struggle in various areas including behavioral growth, social pressures, and adjusting to the rigidity of high school (Mizelle & Irvin, 2000). Researchers have found that personalizing high school for the developmentally unique ninth-grader can lead to academic success (Klem & Connell, 2004).

This study examined 15 specific interventions based on recommendations and strategies offered by Breaking Ranks II (NASSP, 2004). Principals of Michigan high schools of similar size and geography were asked to respond to a survey indicating their participation and implementation date of specific ninth-grade interventions. The data were analyzed through frequency tables, paired t-tests, repeated measures ANOVA, Pearson Product-Moment correlations, and a multiple regression analysis. Demographic data were also considered. Results indicate that participating schools generally implement some ninth-grade interventions. However, implementation does not necessarily result in a positive change in graduation rates. The results indicate a statistically significant relationship between transition program interventions and graduation rates and a marginally significant relationship between the looping interventions and graduation rates. Grouping interventions do not necessarily impact graduation rates. Results indicate that the year prior graduation rate is the largest predictor of graduation rates and that per pupil expenditure is a marginally significant predictor of graduation rates.


Additional committee member: Gary Marx, EdD