Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership


Dr. Lynette Busceme


The purpose of this dissertation was to explore the impact of a freshman academy versus a traditional high school on the academic achievement in mathematics and literacy. The dissertation first outlined a brief history of school reform in the United States from colonial days to present. It then presented an extensive review of the literature related to the pivotal nature of the ninth-grade year and the use of freshman academies to improve student success during the ninth-grade year. The dissertation then outlined a study between two south-central Arkansas schools: a traditional high school with 151 participants, and a freshman academy with 275 participants. The study examined participant mathematics and literacy achievement by gender and socioeconomic status. Both schools were majority-White schools; therefore, ethnicity was not a variable considered in this study. There was no significant difference by gender or by socioeconomic status in the mathematics or literacy achievement between participants in a freshman academy versus those in a traditional high school. The dissertation suggested possible reasons for the results as well as considerations for future research.

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