School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Shante Moore-Austin


Discipline Referrals, Dropout Rates, Ninth-grade Academy, Retention Rates, Small Learning Communities


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology


The purpose of this study was to determine whether the traditional ninth-grade classroom or the ninth-grade academy would have the greatest impact on retention rates and discipline referrals to administration of students transitioning into high school. The data in this causal-comparative research was secondary data collected from the counselors and administrators of the four schools that participated in this research study. The data was evaluated using an independent samples t-test. The results of this study did not indicate the need for transition programs based on the predicted significant statistical difference in the retention rates and in the Group A and B offense discipline referrals to administration of students that were exposed to a ninth-grade academy vs. involvement in a traditional ninth-grade classroom. However, limitations for this study do reveal that there is still a need for further research. These results can assist school systems in finding ways to make sure appropriate decisions are made for the positive transition of ninth-grade students into high school. Additionally, this information can assist high school administrators in finding funding for the program and in building schedules that would support the implementation of ninth-grade academies. There was no statistically significant difference found, in this study, in the retention rate nor the Group A and Group B offense office discipline referral rates of ninth-grade students based on their exposure to a ninth-grade academy vs. a traditional ninth-grade program.