A Quantitative Comparative Analysis of Ninth Grade Academies and Graduation Rates in Texas High Schools


Kevin Lyons

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Spring 2014


Students face many challenges in the transition to high school. From pressures of high-stakes testing for graduation to transitioning to the high school environment, many diversions can delay or even stop a student's path to graduation. Ninth-grade students are at a pivotal point in their educational careers, and a successful transition to high school can increase their chances of reaching graduation. Placement of a ninth-grade student in a traditional high school setting or that of a singular grade facility provides different avenues for success. Regardless of the specific grade configuration of a school, these students need support to make the journey to graduation a success. Researching the effectiveness of different grade configurations (e.g., 4-year high school vs. a single grade facility for ninth graders) could provide information on which configuration leads to improved graduation rates. This study analyzed different grade configurations to address the specific needs of transitioning students and determine the effects of type of high school on graduation rates. The analyses of the two grade configuration included 30 traditional 4-year public high schools and 30 separate public ninth-grade facilities. Findings may assist educational decision makers to develop support systems for ninth-grade students. The purpose of the study was to determine whether a relationship exists between grade configuration for ninth-grade students and their success in graduating from high school. Thus, this study sought to determine which grade configuration is most effective in contributing to students successfully graduating from high school.This comparative research study evaluated statistical differences between the graduation and dropout rates of students in traditional 4-year public high schools and that of students in public ninth-grade academies in Texas. Using a correlational research design enabled the researcher to determine relationships among the variables. This study provided an analysis of whether a statistically significant relationship exists between the two high school grade configurations and the successful completion of high school graduation.


Ava Munoz

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership