Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Louise L. MacKay

Committee Members

James H. Lampley, Jasmine R. Renner, Rhona Hurwitz


The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not a significant relationship exists between the implementation of the Morristown-Hamblen High School East (MHHSE) Freshman Academy, student academic achievement, and the high school graduation rate at MHHSE.

The testing variables included GPA, attendance, number of core course failures, number of discipline referrals, English I End-of-Course test scores, and graduation rate. Grouping variables included 8th grade (pretreatment) and 9th grade (posttreatment) groups, preacademy and postacademy groups, socioeconomic status, and gender. Ten faculty members of the MHHSE Freshman Academy were interviewed to ascertain their perceptions about the smaller learning community concept.

The population of the study was limited to students enrolled in the MHHSE Freshman Academy (2004-2008) and students enrolled at MHHSE 2 years prior to the implementation of the academy (2002-2004). Paired-samples t-tests were used to make comparisons between the same students on 8th grade (pretreatment) and 9th grade (posttreatment) measures. Independentsamples t-tests were used to make additional comparisons between different groups of students categorized according to socioeconomic status and gender, as well as preacademy and postacademy groups.

Based on the findings of this study, it was concluded that the 9th grade transition year is a very difficult year for most students. Male students and those classified as economically disadvantaged develop additional risk factors during their freshmen year that might identify them as potential dropouts. The MHHSE Freshman Academy has had a positive effect on student academic performance and conduct as measured by the data analyses and teacher opinions.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.