Date of Award

Spring 5-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. John Oldani

Second Advisor

Dr. Donette Green

Third Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Panagos


The purpose of this quantitative, causal comparative study was to examine the extent to which attending an alternative educational program at some point during high school could likely influence the graduation rate of at-risk students in an urban school district in the state of Missouri. Four years of nonrandom samples of graduation data from 2006 through 2010 were retrieved from the district’s student information system specific to race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and special education services. The 4 years of nonrandom samples were averaged, and the mean graduation rates of these populations of adolescents were calculated and compared to measure statistical significance. Statistical analysis of the data using the t test, F test, and variance analysis suggested the African-American students with discipline issues who attended an alternative school at some point during high school experienced statistically significant higher mean graduation rates compared to the African-American students with discipline issues who only attended the traditional high school. Other variables statistically assessed for higher rates of graduation were the student’s socioeconomic status, ethnicity (non-African- American), gender, and special education services. Although in some cases the mean rate of graduation of the students who attended an alternative program was higher than their like-peers in the traditional school, the results from these variables did not show evidence of statistical significance. The implications suggest the need for educational leaders to assess the qualities specific to an alternative school setting that may assist African- American. Furthermore, the data raises a question regarding the effectiveness of the traditional high school staff and school environment in meeting the needs of the African American population of students receiving special education services in a traditional school setting.


Copyright 2011