Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Uldis Smidchens

Second Advisor

Dr. David Cowden

Third Advisor

Dr. Stanley Olson


This research was conducted to contrast adult persisters' and dropouts' perceptions of the importance of institutional, situational, and dispositional barriers to high school completion.

Institutional factors included staff support, curriculum , student services, and logistical considerations. Situational factors were family and friend support, time, employment, and health. Dispositional factors included attitudes toward education, academic preparedness plus expectations, and satisfaction.

Completers who graduated and noncompleters who dropped out before graduation were surveyed. Statistical analysis allowed the researcher to test differences between the perceptions of persisters and dropouts in regard to eleven factors found in the three major barriers. It also revealed differences of perceived importance of the three overall barriers.

The hypothesized differences between the perceptions of adult persisters and dropouts concerning the importance of staff support, relevant curriculum, logistical convenience, time, health, personal attitudes, academic preparedness as well as expectations and satisfaction are supported by the survey data using an alpha level of .10. However, no differences between the two groups concerning the Importance of student support services, friend and family support and employment were found.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access