Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Jianping Shen

Second Advisor

Dr. Sue Poppink

Third Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Jones


Non-traditional education, alternative education, secondary education


In this study I investigated determinants of the average daily attendance (ADA) and graduation rate of public alternative high schools specifically for students placed at-risk by analyzing the nationally representative data from Schools and Staffing Surveys of 2003-04 and 2007-08. I built three models via successive block entry, predicting the ADA and graduation rate by (a) student demographics, (b) staffing characteristics, and (c) school processes. Through multiple regression analyses on ADA, I found (a) a positive relationship between career technical education and ADA; and (b) a negative relationship between teacher-student ratio and ADA. Through the set of multiple regression analyses on the graduation rate, I found (a) that staffing characteristics and school processes are important blocks of variables to predict the graduation rate; (b) that summer programs and Hispanic teacher ratio for all teachers are positively associated with the graduation rate, with having the same teachers for two years or more being a marginally positive predictor; and (c) that having the traditional grade structure and providing day care are negatively correlated with the graduation rate. Implications of the findings for policy and future research are discussed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access