Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)
School of Education
Sarah E. Peterson
Rodney K. Hopson
alternative education, at-risk youth, drop-out prevention, on-site program, school-within-a-school
This study sought to examine the effectiveness of an on-site alternative education program for at-risk high school students with regard to improving academic success, attendance, and behavior. A second purpose was to ascertain student perceptions of the program and perceptions of components that were most effective in providing support for at-risk factors and in facilitating success. Participants included high school students who were enrolled or had previously been enrolled in the program who were at risk of dropping out of school. Data was collected from student records and student surveys. Statistically significant effects were found for grades, attendance, and behavior when comparing before placement, during placement, and after placement in the alternative education program. Results indicated that grades and attendance were maintained while in the program but declined after leaving the program. Findings also showed that discipline referrals declined while enrolled in the program and again after exiting the program. Additionally, students' perceptions of the effects of participation in the program were overwhelmingly positive. Although student perceptions were favorable, statistical results indicated a need for transitional support when students return to the regular education program. An unexpected finding of this study showed that the graduation/retention rate (67%) greatly exceeds the drop-out rate (6%).
Although discrepancies were found between student perceptions of success and the statistical findings, it is believed that this alternative education program provided the support that many of the at-risk students needed to successfully earn their high school diploma.
Wolfe, K. (2008). Examining the Effectiveness of a Site-Based Alternative Education Program for At-Risk High School Students (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1379