Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Sefton, Terry (Faculty of Education)


Education, Curriculum and Instruction.




This study undertook to elicit and characterize the transition strategies that creatively-inclined students adopted to manage their first year of high school in Southeastern Ontario. The grounded theory research design included two semi-structured interviews with 12 female Grade Nine students and a content analysis of their multi-modal journals and provincial report cards. Participants' creative-thinking aptitudes were assessed using the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking and these findings, in combination with interview, journal and report card data were employed to designate four Ideal Types: creatively-inclined participants at high-risk of academic failure (n=5); creatively-inclined participants at low-risk of academic failure (n=2); creatively-disinclined at high-risk of academic failure (n=0); and creatively-disinclined at low-risk of academic failure (n=5). The results of this investigation suggest that creatively-inclined Grade Nine students who are at high-risk for academic failure: have had fewer opportunities to engage in creative pursuits; possess an underdeveloped sense of creative personal identity; employ transition strategies based primarily on psychosocial needs; experience lower levels of academic, intellectual and social engagement; and are prone to engage in high risk behaviours. The discussion traces linkages between theoretical concepts: self-identity and creativity; creative personal identity and academic engagement; self-perception and intellectual engagement; social engagement and transition strategies employed. Finally, an integrated model for transitioning creatively-inclined students who are at higher risk for academic failure into Grade Nine is proposed.