The gateway grade: The ninth grade academy practice in terms of student performance

Adam Robert Starke, University of Texas at El Paso


The purpose of this study was to examine whether the concept of the ninth grade academy structure in Texas high schools affects a variety of variables indicative of student achievement. Data representative of performance by students served in 30 schools with a separately structured ninth grade academy were compared to data representative of performance by students served in ninth grade at 30 schools with a traditional high school setting. A group of six variables in the category of student assessment performance were analyzed, and a group of four variables that are related to college readiness or the risk of not being college-ready were analyzed. A repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was used to analyze three years of TAKS reading/language arts and mathematics results, represented by grade nine, grade 10, and grade 11. A standard MANOVA was used for the variables indicative of college readiness, which stood alone and were not repeated. A statistically significant effect was not found for a majority of the variables analyzed in the study, but was found in the area of mathematics performance for all students and in the fact that non-economically disadvantaged students outpaced economically disadvantaged students in all variables in both settings. Consistent implementation of such an instructional setting is possibly the key to further gaining a greater understanding as to whether the ninth grade academy concept is one that can work. It is an example of a program change that requires commitment and time, and while the researcher was able to provide groundwork for studying ninth grade academies in Texas with this quantitative study, more research is needed with respect to qualitative observation and the interviewing of and interaction with subjects affiliated with the ninth grade academy.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Educational administration

Recommended Citation

Starke, Adam Robert, "The gateway grade: The ninth grade academy practice in terms of student performance" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10118188.