Date of Award

Spring 2-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Lynda Leavitt

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Third Advisor

Dr. William Emrick

Abstract

In 2010, the problem of high school students dropping out of high school continues to plaque school districts across the United States. All students can learn when provided with opportunity, ample support systems, and encouragement to succeed. In this mixed methods study, the researcher investigated whether utilizing an online curriculum instead of direct instruction was an effective instructional tool for at-risk high school students attending an alternative high school. After the 2008–2009 school year, teaching methods at the participating high school were changed from direct instruction school to the A+nyWhere Learning System (A+LS) for communication arts, math, science, social studies, and some electives. The 45 students who returned to the school after the 2008–2009 school year participated in the study. The researcher gathered quantitative data to determine whether the program led to an increase in student achievement and attendance, and led to a decrease in dropout rates and early graduation rates. Qualitative data from student and staff interviews were also gathered, and a student perspective survey was administered. Twelve individuals participated in the interviews, while 27 individuals participated in the survey. The results found that the A+LS were associated with students being motivated to earn more credits, and as a result, more students applied for early graduation. The data also indicated that there was a significant decrease in the dropout rate after the implementation of the A+LS. However, the implementation of the A+LS was not associated with an increase in attendance among students. Student and teacher perceptions of the implementation of the A+LS were mixed.

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