Term of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Gregory Chamblee

Committee Member 1

Cordelia Zinskie

Committee Member 2

Paul Brinson



This program evaluation of a Study Skills Freshman Academy in a medium size high school in the Southeastern region of the United States explored the impact of the academy model on student discipline, attendance, and academic achievement. The program targeted incoming first year ninth grade students, identified as having the potential for non-completion of high school, to make a successful transition from middle school. Stufflebeam’s CIPP [Context, Input, Process and Product] evaluation model was employed to examine and evaluate the academy.

The program evaluation was conducted using a mixed methods approach, yielding both qualitative and quantitative data for analysis. Participants were the students initially enrolled in the program as well as five school personnel who were directly involved in program design and implementation. Data collected were student surveys, student archival data, student focus group interviews and interviews with school personnel. For the quantitative portion of this research study, online surveys were completed by student participants. For each sub-question, descriptive statistics were calculated for each CIPP evaluation component. Qualitative data from the student focus group and school personnel interviews were analyzed for each CIPP category. Qualitative data were analyzed using Merriman’s (1998) basic interpretive method and Glesne’s (2006) steps for thematic analysis.

Review of the data suggested that the program had proven effective in meeting its stated goals to positively impact student achievement, increase the students’ average daily attendance, lower the number of disciplinary incidents, and decrease ninth grade retention rates. Findings, in comparison to the eighth-grade archival data, regarding student discipline were that the overall number of incident referrals were lower, the average daily attendance rate was higher, and academic achievement was improved in reading and math skills. The Study Skills Freshman Academy was categorized as meeting its stated goals based on CIPP evaluation techniques.

The program evaluation was conducted in a rural Georgia, singular high school setting. Replication of the evaluation in schools of varying sizes, locales (i.e., rural, metro, urban, suburban), and/or various states may produce comprehensive data that could be generalized to measure program effectiveness.

Research Data and Supplementary Material