Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

August 1980


The problem of the study was to describe the development, implementation and evaluation of an alternative approach to learning for a selected group of students within the Kingsport, Tennessee City School System. Literature was reviewed, researched, and presented the reader with information concerning options in public education. An intact group consisting of 11 students enrolled in the Alternative School, Kingsport, Tennessee from August, 1979 through May, 1980 comprised the sample of this study. The students' ages ranged from 12 years through 15 years. All students were exposed to the program design. A program was developed which was based upon objectives designed to meet the needs of the subjects involved in the study. The objectives and needs were established through psychological and vocational valuations (pretests). Upon admittance to the program, an M-Team meeting was held in order to develop an individualized educational plan (IEP) for each student. At the conclusion of the year the subjects were posttested to determine the effects of the program on learning. Eight hypotheses were tested for significance at the .05 level. The t-test for non-independent samples was utilized to analyze the data collected in the study. Analyses of the data indicated that: (a) there was positive change in students' attitudes toward school, but not at the .05 level of significance; (b) a positive but not statistically significant change of attitude toward self developed; (c) the mean gain scores of academic achievement were found to be lower than predicted; (d) the number of discipline referrals was significantly decreased at the conclusion of the program; (e) there was a significant reduction in suspensions/expulsions during the second semester; (f) there was a significant decrease in absenteeism during the second semester; (g) a positive, but not statistically significant, improvement was found in the analysis of data of potential dropouts; and (h) the subjects in the study showed a significant mean gain score of the potential salable skills. Based upon the findings of this study, the following conclusions were drawn: (a) evidence based on the study indicated that the Alternative School program in Kingsport, Tennessee should be continued; (b) a significant gain in the mastery of academic skills appears to be of secondary importance in alternative programs for disruptive students; (c) token economies permit students to meet requirements for success; (d) support services constitute an important element in ensuring student success; (e) alternative programs which contain career orientation provide a sense of responsibility and dignity to the students; (f) alternative programs provide supportive, accepting environments where students may succeed; (g) students appear to be happier in alternative schools and have more positive attitudes toward school; (h) alternative programs offer the expelled or suspended student an opportunity to continue his/her formal education; and (i) more positive attitudes are demonstrated by lower absentee rates, lower discipline referral rates and lower dropout rates. Recommendations for future research were offered.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access