The Impact of Ninth Grade Campuses on Student Graduation Rates



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The purpose of this study was to determine if attending a ninth grade campus increased high school graduation rates. Over the last decade many school districts across the United States have created 9th grade campuses, a type of small learning community comprised only of first-time freshmen to provide special attention to students in their first year of high school (Chmelynski, 2003). This descriptive analysis study examined the graduation rates of four cohorts of students. The researcher conducted a program evaluation of a ninth grade campus that isolated graduation rates. Data were analyzed to determine if differences existed between the graduation rates of students who attended stand-alone 9th grade campuses as opposed to those who attended traditional high school campuses. Of the four groups of subjects examined, two groups of cohorts attended a traditional 9th-12th grade high school in southeast Texas and the other two cohorts of students attended a separate stand-alone 9th grade only campus their freshman year. The descriptive analyses results showed that significant differences did not exist between those students who attended a 9th grade center and those students who attended a traditional nine through twelve campus. It was noted that particular special populations and ethnicities of students who attended the ninth grade center had higher graduation rates than students who did not. Recommendations for examining sub-groups with lower graduation rates are important implications for school leaders. It is imperative that school districts create, implement, monitor, and evaluate programs that address the ninth grade transition and encourage higher student graduation rates.



9th grade, Graduation rates