Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Barbara Hill, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Darrell Groves, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Sheila Gregory, Ph.D.


The purpose of this mixed-method study, combining a quantitative, quasi-experimental, and qualitative design was to examine a researcher-designed, piloted dropout intervention program that would address the factors that have contributed to African American, ninth-grade “at-risk” students. This phenomenon, also known as the “ninth grade shock” due to the rapid incline within the United States’ traditional public high school setting, has also been a direct connection to the low graduation rates listed for African American students in the state of Georgia. The researcher-designed, dropout intervention program, Cultural Check and Connect Sessions (CC&CS) was evaluated while developing and implementing strategies that will reverse the need for students to drop out while being promoted to the next grade level.

The researcher examined the following variables: Student Perception, Attendance, Discipline, The Number of Failed Courses, and Support Staff Perception. Student data were gathered from the selected students (Group A) using student surveys, staff interviews, and the school’s database, Infinite Campus. Forty African-American students were also selected as a control group (Group B). Both groups of students met the following requirements before the start of the researcher-designed program: 2 or more failed courses on the previous progress report, 3 or more semesters behind from being promoted to the 10th grade, 10 or more unexcused absences, and 3 or more discipline referrals.

When Group A was compared to Group B after the completion of the researcher-designed program, the results of the study revealed that the group was impacted by the researcher-designed, piloted dropout intervention program through the students’ perception of school, attendance, and discipline. This research investigation provides implications and recommendations for all schools educating African American, ninth- grade “at-risk” students in a traditional school learning environment.

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