Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Doug Eury

Abstract

This study examined the impact of a newly implemented transition program on the academic achievement of low achieving and socially promoted students in a high school. The intended contribution of this study was to describe any effect the transition program might have towards academic achievement on the English I end-of-course exam and the accumulation of total academic credits to be applied towards promotion into the tenth grade.

The research questions providing a research framework for the study were: How did the target group's academic achievement compare to an earlier group who had been socially promoted but had not participated in the summer transition program? How did the target group perform on the English I end-of-course exam as compared to the Education Value- Added Assessment System prediction? What explanations were there for the performances described in Questions 1 and 2? What attitude changes toward school had students undergone in the year since social promotion? What supports were helpful in effecting academic and attitudinal improvement in the targeted ninth-grade group?

Quantitative data was gathered to answer the first two research questions. EOC scores of the non-transition program group were compared to EOC scores of the transition program group using SPSS to compute central tendency statistics of mean, median, and mode. EVAAS predicted scores of the transition program group were compared to actual achievement scores by computing central tendency statistics of mean, median, and mode using SPSS. Answers to the last three questions were gleaned through student questionnaires (with both a closed-option quantitative section and an open-option qualitative section) and focus group interviews with teachers who had taught in the transition program and students who had participated in the program. Themes from the open-ended questionnaire and the focus groups were elicited through a frequency and strength computation. Responses to the five questions were triangulated to determine the overall effectiveness of the transition program.

Data demonstrated the transition program implemented in this study was an effective one. Student participants were more successful on the English I end-of-course exam than predicted by the EVAAS system, scored at a higher level of achievement than the nonparticipating group of students, as well as accumulated more high school credits necessary for promotion to the tenth grade. Qualitative data demonstrated that student attitudes were changed in a positive manner regarding math and reading skills, organization skills, time-management skills, and decision-making skills.