Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Jianping Shen


Decreasing the high school dropout rate in the United States is gaining a great deal of national attention. One of the key strategies that has been identified to decrease dropout rate is to offer at-risk students alternatives to traditional school. This study contributed to our knowledge about alternative high schools for at-risk students by using data from the large-scale, nationally representative 2003-04 Schools and Staffing Public School Survey. Using an effective schools conceptual framework, the author used logistic regression analyses to compare the characteristics of regular and alternative public high schools. An overall model was created that could predict two thirds of the variance associated with the dependent variable. The author also conducted multiple regression analyses to determine which of the five constructs of school inputs, school structures, classroom structures, student support, and program rigor and relevance, were statistically significant predictors for the outcome measures, which included graduation rate, percent attendance at 2-year college, percent attendance at 4-year college, and average daily attendance at public alternative high schools for at-risk students. Several significant findings were discovered, for example, classroom structures and processes were found to be associated with graduation rate at public alternative high schools. Implications of the findings were discussed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access