Resources on Ninth Grade & Ensuring a Smooth Transition into High School

Subject: REFERENCE POINTS: New Resources on Ninth Grade & Ensuring a Smooth Transition into High School

REFERENCE POINTS is an activity of TATRA, a project of PACER Center

National High School Center Releases Resources on Ninth Grade and Ensuring a
Smooth Transition into High School

The National High School Center has released a new set of resources focusing on
how to support and guide a smooth transition into high school. "Ninth grade is a
critical make-it-or-break-it year for many students and we wanted to highlight
some of the best practices that are backed by research, as well as examples of
what states and districts are doing now to ensure that entering high school
students are well-supported," said Joseph R. Harris, Ph.D., Director of the
National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research.

Resources include a fact sheet examining the "ninth grade bulge," the
disproportionate number of ninth graders who are held back in the ninth grade,
many of whom drop out by the tenth grade. In addition, a policy brief on "State
and District-Level Support for Successful Transitions into High School"
highlights research suggesting up to 40 percent of students are disengaged and
not promoted from ninth-to 10th grade on time, and examines what some states and
districts are doing to address the issue. The following approaches to supporting
a successful transition into high school, particularly for students who are at
high risk of failure, are discussed:

. Establish a data monitoring system to diagnose why students are struggling;
. Address the instructional needs of unprepared incoming high school students;
. Personalize the learning environment to focus on individual students;
. Build capacity within low-performing schools to address diverse student
needs; and
. Create connections to the community, higher education, and employers to
engage students and allow them to understand the relevance of their coursework.

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