Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations

A Comparative Study of Multi-Tiered Interventions on Attendance and Graduation Rates of Urban High School Students: A Whole Child-Equity in Education Approach

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Judith Jackson May (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Nora Engebretsen-Broman (Other)

Third Advisor

Matthew Lavery (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Patrice McClellan (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Patrick Pauken (Committee Member)


Many school leaders have found that to reach an environment that encompasses the tools and supports for student success, a whole child approach is required to address academic, social and emotional obstacles that many students face. In recent years, the development of early warning intervention and monitoring systems (EWIMS) in urban high schools serve as a strategy for educators to apply interventions through multi-tiered systems of supports (MTSS). Research notes that almost half of today’s students enter school having experienced at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE), such as abuse, neglect, and other household dysfunctions. The trauma from ACEs may impede a child’s progress in school. Therefore, it is imperative that school leaders guide the staff in creating a trauma-sensitive environment (TSE) to help students overcome trauma, and focus on academics. Studies have revealed that transformational leaders are favored in the effort to effectively set a clear vision and motivate stakeholders to focus on the individual needs of the students and their academic achievement. The purpose of this study was to examine the success of an EWIMS on the identification of students who display the potential to drop out of school. A quasi-experimental posttest only comparison group design, included four statistical analyses. A chi-square of association justified the use of the selected cohort. An independent samples t-test compared a sum of student days in attendance and a logistic regression analysis examined predictive factors of on-time graduation. The findings of the t-test in this study did not show a statistically significant difference in the means of students receiving intervention. The researcher speculated factors that may have contributed to the lack of significance included a low rate of student participation or a dearth of fidelity in implementation. Conversely, the findings of the analysis of the logistic regression test revealed a predictive relationship between students who received intervention and obtained on-time graduation success. In addition, grape point average (GPA) and socioeconomic status (SES) were strong predictors of on-time graduation success. GPA proved to be the strongest predictor of on time graduation; the higher the GPA the higher the likelihood of on-time graduation. A post-hoc analysis of GPA revealed a lack of significance. Overall, literature and the findings of predictive relationships on graduation rates suggest that effective implementation of multi-tiered systems of supports and over time, interventions contribute to the success of students.