Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James H. Stronger


The focus of the ninth grade year as a crucial year for high school students is a current issue that raises national concern. Currently, rural and suburban school districts have been successful in implementing and in sustaining successful ninth grade transition programs. However, in urban settings, educators have been perplexed by the varying degrees of success with these same strategies. This study focused on four urban high schools' efforts to increase ninth grade promotion rates and ultimately high school completion rates. Each school's efforts have been described in order to gain insight into how each program was developed to meet the needs of its school population. The planning, implementation, program design, inhibiting factors, facilitative factors, and criteria used to determine success/failure were explored in each school, and findings for each school were compared to practices found in other ninth grade transition programs in urban settings across the United States. Findings from this study suggest that while ninth grade transition programs can positively impact ninth grade promotion rates, urban schools continue to fall short in yielding immediate and continued increases in promotion rates. Before the strategies can be systematically labeled effective, each school's efforts have to result in increases in ninth grade promotion rates that are replicated on a yearly basis.



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