Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Joseph Marcoline, D.Ed.

Second Advisor

David Piper, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Dr. Sue Rieg, Ed.D.


For school transformation and meaningful reform to occur, school districts must not only determine what changes are required but must plan and implement an intentional, welldesigned transition process to help deal with the societal, organizational, and interpersonal barriers affecting schools (Link, 2000). The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine if there was a significant difference when using the 2009, Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) results in academic performance, graduation, and participation rates between Transitional and Non-Transitional high schools within Pennsylvania while identifying concerns that teachers experienced when implementing ninth grade reform strategies using the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ). Descriptive statistics were used to describe each of the variables in the study. T-tests were used to compare the dependent variables among the two types of school structures. Multiple regression analysis was performed to determine statistical significance between the independent and control variable to the dependent variables. The multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) procedure was used to determine whether statistically significant relationships existed between the stages of concern and independent variables. Results indicated that there was no statistically significant difference between school structures and academic performance, graduation, and participation rates, including subgroups of economically disadvantaged, total school enrollment, and Aid-Ratio. Additional results were derived from the SoCQ that included two procedures: analysis of group profile and analysis of individuals’ peak concerns. The MANOVA analysis for significant difference did reveal statistical differences in means between levels of experience and three stages of concerns (consequence, collaboration, and refocusing stages). However, no significant relationship was found between gender and the reported stages of concern. Although findings of this study were not consistent with Fuller’s, Theory of Concern Development, continued use of the innovation and appropriate staff development are recommended to resolve concerns of the participating teachers. Lastly, recommendations for the future were made along with key initiatives that support the transition of students into high schools.