Date of Award

Fall 9-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Lynda Leavitt

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Third Advisor

Dr. Dan Coates


The purpose of this quantitative comparative study was to evaluate the Positive Alternative Credit Experience (PACE) Program using an objectives-oriented approach to a formative program evaluation. The PACE Program was a semester-long high school alternative education program designed to serve students at-risk for academic failure or dropping out and was operated by a large suburban school district located in St. Louis, Missouri. The outcome objectives of the program were to improve student success as measured by (a) an increase in grade point average (GPA), (b) an increase in attendance rate, (c) a decrease, or elimination of out-of-school suspension (OSS) rate, and (d) a decrease or elimination of dropout rate. Outcome data collected from a sample of students who attended the PACE Program in 2008-2009 were compared to outcome data collected from a Matched Sample of students with matching descriptive and demographic characteristics who did not participate in the program in 2008-2009. Data analysis determined if there was a significant difference in measured student success when comparing the PACE Sample (students who attended the PACE Program and subsequently returned to their home schools for one semester), with a Matched Sample (students who attended a traditional high school during this same timeframe). Purposive sampling was used to select the PACE Sample, and stratified random sampling was used to select the Matched Sample. The PACE Sample of 36 students was comprised of a Semester I PACE Cohort of 18 students and a Semester II PACE Cohort of 18 students. The Matched Sample and Semester I and II Matched Cohorts were identical in size. iii When the descriptive and demographic characteristic variables of the PACE and Matched Cohorts and Samples were statistically compared, there were no significant differences on the descriptive characteristic variables of cumulative GPA, attendance rate, and OSS rate. The descriptive characteristic variable of current GPA of the Matched Sample was significantly higher, however, than the current GPA of the PACE Sample. When demographic characteristic variables of the PACE and Matched Samples were statistically compared there were no significant differences in grade level, ethnicity, residence, gender, Individualized Education Plan (IEP) status, and Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) status. The results of data analysis did not show statistically significant differences in the outcome variables of GPA (cumulative and current), attendance rate, and OSS rate of the PACE or Matched Samples. However, when the outcome variable of dropout rate was analyzed, there was a statistically significant increase in the dropout rate of the Matched Sample. The results of data analysis also revealed that the Matched Sample had a higher dropout when compared to the PACE Sample, and this difference was also statistically significant.


Copyright 2011