Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)


School of Education

Degree Name



Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Barbara Hill

Second Advisor

Dr. Moses Norman

Third Advisor

Dr. Trevor Turner


The purpose of this causal-comparative research study was to determine the extent to which ninth-grade student performances are impacted by the small learning community model. The urban high school of interest performed higher than the district in all accountability areas, and was comparable to the state in all areas except ninth-grade on track performance. Transforming this urban school district into small learning conmiunities was planned in order to address the needs of students with the ultimate goal of increasing the graduation rate and lowering the dropout rate. The urban school district being investigated in this study began the SLC transformation process with one school. That high school went from a comprehensive high school traditional model with a magnet program to the SLC model with four different academies. This one comprehensive school is phasing the SLC academies in by grade level. This affords the school the ability to make adjustments as the model is phased in during 4 years. The SLC model and traditional model of high school and the impact of the school model on ninth-grade student performance measures. It was proposed that the following variables were directly related to ninth-grade student achievement: number of absences; scores on the science, mathematics, and literature EOCTs; number of disciplinary referrals; GPA; and grade promotion. An investigation was also conducted to determine if there was a relationship between school model, gender, and student performance. Teacher perceptions are analyzed to determine their reflections on the processes for any correlations to the student outcomes. The study was designed to determine if those basic needs are met through the SLC model or the traditional school model. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) to analyze the data. Analyses of variance were used to compare six of the dependent variables between the two school models and for comparisons of these same variables among the four academies. The interviews were transcribed and coded to established dominant and emergent themes as it related to ninth-grade student achievement. Based on the findings, there were statistically no differences between the SLC and traditional school model for the ninth grade measures such as EOCT scores in mathematics, science, and English, grade point average and the number of disciplinary referrals. In addition, students enrolled in the traditional school model had significantly fewer absences, and there were a larger percentage of ninth grades students promoted in the traditional model than students who were enrolled in the SLC model. The researcher concludes that in year one of the implementation of the SLC model there was no significant impact on ninth grade student outcomes.

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