Staci Dreher

Date of Award

Summer 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Linda Silvernail


In this mixed-methods study, the researcher set out to identify factors that affect the overall success of students during their first year of high school, thereby directly impacting the graduation rate. In my state when a student enters high school, they are assigned a 9GR (9th grade Graduation) code. This code is determined by looking at the year of the spring semester of the ninth-grade student’s first year of high school, and this represents the year the student should graduate. When a student does not graduate during the year of their assigned 9GR code, it can have repercussions not only for the school’s and district’s state report card, but also for the student’s long-term success.

Using outside data and research, I examined the difficulty of successfully completing coursework in ninth grade without proper interventions and support. The study investigated the interventions of progress monitoring, small group sessions, and academic intervention plans and whether these interventions assisted in motivating ninth-grade students toward success, keeping them on track for graduating on-time. By using both quantitative and qualitative methodology, students’ overall averages and likelihood of promotion to 10th grade, as well as students overall attitudes toward high school and success were able to be measured. The study examines whether at-risk student’s averages in their classes would increase as well as their likelihood to promote v to 10th grade at the end of their ninth grade year if progress monitoring, small group sessions, and academic intervention plans were implemented with each student. The same interventions were used to examine students’ attitudes toward high school and their academic success. Data collected for research question one determined that these interventions had a positive impact on their class averages increasing their chances for promotion to 10th grade. However, data did not show a significant change in the majority of student’s attitudes toward school due to these interventions. Keywords: ninth graders, interventions, at-risk, progress monitoring, success, promotion, graduation rate.