Ninth Grade Counts

A Three-Part Guide to Strengthening the Transition into High School

A U.S. Department of Education Resource

Ninth Grade Counts was created to help high schools identify weaknesses in their ninth-grade programs, and then develop a purposeful, proactive plan to strengthen this critical educational transition. Focusing on a selection of effective strategies and practices, the three-part guide equips districts and schools with a comprehensive, step-by-step process they can use to build a high-impact ninth-grade action plan. Specifically, the guide will help districts and schools:

  • Engage in self-reflective discussions about ninth-grade success—what it takes to make sure all students are on track academically and on target to graduate prepared for college by the end of tenth grade.
  • Isolate both strengths and weaknesses in their ninth-grade programs.
  • Identify high-impact instructional and support strategies likely to increase the educational achievement and attainment of ninth-grade students, including English language learners.
  • Determine action-plan priorities that will help schools achieve their distinct goals for ninth-grade success.

Download Ninth Grade Counts

Ninth Grade Counts: Strengthening the Transition into High School 
→ This guide was created to help schools diagnose systemic weaknesses in their ninth-grade programs, and improve the practices they use to support students entering ninth grade.

Ninth Grade Counts: Strengthening the High School Transition for English Language Learners
The second installment of the guide, this tool equips educators with research-based insights and strategies they can use to strengthen support programs for English language learners.

Ninth Grade Counts: Using Summer Bridge Programs to Strengthen the High School Transition 
The third installment of the guide, this tool will help school develop or improve summer bridge programs designed to eliminate learning gaps and prepare students for success in ninth grade.

Ninth Grade Counts is a free, public resource produced under U.S. Department of Education Contract No. ED-ESE-11-C-0053. Questions about the tool can be directed to