The Impact of a Transition Program on Ninth Grade Students' Performance

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Virginia Tech

Transition programs designed to ease the middle to high school transition are becoming a necessity in high school because ninth grade is deemed as a critical year for determining students’ success in high school. Few studies examined transition programs’ impact on students’ educational outcomes, and transition research is typically conducted in inner-city or urban settings. The purpose of this case study was to examine the impact of a full transition model program on ninth grade students’ performance in a rural high school.

A comparison of the students who participated in the transition program to those who did not was examined by using a mixed method approach. The qualitative data consisted of the ninth grade teachers and administrators’ perceptions and the program documents. The quantitative data consisted of a chi-square analysis of the transition and nontransition program students’ pass rate of high stakes tests, earned credits, retention status, out-of-school suspensions, dropout status, and attendance. The study also examined if specific groups of students as categorized by race, gender, and socioeconomics were impacted more by the transition program. The findings of this study suggested that the transition program may have eased the transition by providing support to ninth grade students to improve their conduct. The quantitative evidence does not show other significant benefits from the transition program, however. Improving academic performance still remains a challenge for this rural high school.

9th grade students, transition program, 9th grade student performance