Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

Making the Critical Year Count: A Review of the Literature on the Ninth Grade High School Experience
Pamela L. Gray, EdD

One challenge facing today’s high schools is how best to prepare and support students in the transition from 8th to 9th grade. As eighth graders move from a structured and guided experience in middle school, they are often unprepared for the responsibility and independence necessary to succeed in high school. How well prepared a middle school student is for the transition to high school has much to do with whether he or she ultimately graduates. The purpose of this literature review was to synthesize research and best practices on the ninth grade experience. The author conducted a review of ninth grade transition literature including over 25 academic research articles on the topic. A focus on the community of care for freshmen, structures and programs, development of academic skills, relationships with peers and campus staff and family engagement were found to be essential components in a successful transition to high school.

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