Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Edward Cox


This study attempted to determine the impact of poverty, school size, and the presence of a ninth grade transition program (independent variables) upon promotion to tenth grade (dependent variable). Three sets of ten South Carolina high schools were purposefully selected for the study: one from high, one from medium, and one from low poverty index ranges. Poverty information was gathered from SCDE Poverty Index lists, and school size and tenth grade promotion rate were calculated from enrollment data supplied by the SCDE. A ninth grade transition was defined by identifying eight common transition practices in current literature and sample school principals were then surveyed. Schools that had no less than five of eight practices in place, one of which must be targeted curriculum for at-risk students, were defined as having a transition program.

Three multiple regression models were performed to generate a P-value and Partial Eta squared value for each dependent variable. Regression Model 1 included all three independent variables, none of which generated a significant statistic. Because the two continuous variables of poverty and enrollment were negatively correlated with a P-value of -.729, subsequent regression models removed one of these variables in an effort to diminish their interaction in Regression Model 1.

Regression Model 2 tested the impact of poverty and transition on tenth grade promotion, and poverty was determined to be significant with a P-value of .007 and a partial Eta squared value of .238. Transition was not significant. Regression Model 3 tested the impact of enrollment and transition on tenth grade promotion, and both variables were found to be not significant.

Though poverty was determined to be significant in its impact on promotion to tenth grade, the data on enrollment and ninth grade transition were inconclusive. The limits of the study may have prevented an optimal definition of a ninth grade transition program and future research is recommended in order to determine the effects of such programs on achievement.