Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

August 1996

Abstract

Purpose. The purpose of the study was to (1) determine which characteristics of alternative schools exist in North Carolina public alternative high schools for at-risk/potential dropouts, (2) determine the degree to which North Carolina alternative school administrators and teachers perceive each characteristic as important, (3) determine if there was a significant difference between administrators' and teachers' perceptions regarding the frequency of occurrence of program characteristics to alternative high school's, (4) determine if there was a significant difference between administrators' and teachers' perceptions regarding the relevancy of program characteristics to alternative high schools, and (5) determine if there was a significant difference between administrators' and teachers' mean gaps of program characteristics to alternative high schools. Descriptive data were gathered relating to six categories: (1) perceptions about alternative schools, (2) student attitudes toward alternative schools, (3) school climate, (4) leadership, (5) student needs, and (6) student services. Method. A random sample of 21 of the 42 public alternative high schools in North Carolina for at-risk/potential dropouts made up the study. A survey was sent to each administrator and teacher of the 21 programs to gather information relating to the categories. Findings. A mean was computed for each program characteristic to determine administrators' and teachers' perceptions regarding the relevancy and level of existence of each program characteristic. A mean gap was calculated, denoting whether or not more resources should be devoted to specific program characteristics. Kendall's Tau Coefficient was calculated, signifying that there was no significant difference in rank order between administrators' and teachers' perceptions regarding level of existence, importance, and mean gap. Conclusions. Nine conclusions were drawn based on the findings. First, administrators' perceptions were higher than teachers' perceptions about existence of program characteristics of alternative schools. Second, administrators and teachers differed significantly in their perceptions of existence of nine of the 40 program characteristics of alternative schools. Third, administrators' perceptions were higher than teachers' perceptions about importance of program characteristics of alternative schools. Fourth, administrators and teachers differed significantly in their perceptions of importance of five of the 40 program characteristics of alternative schools. Fifth, the categories of student needs and services consistently ranked at the bottom of the lists for both levels of existence and importance among administrators and teachers. Sixth, teacher mean gaps concluded that more resources should be devoted to 39 of the 40 program characteristics while administrator mean gaps revealed that too many resources are being devoted to three of the 40 program characteristics. Seventh, the results of the use of Kendall's Tau Coefficient demonstrated substantial similarities in the perceptions of administrators and teachers regarding the degrees of existence, importance, and mean gaps between selected characteristics of alternative schools. Eighth, North Carolina alternative high schools for at-risk youth are to be commended as they are exhibiting to some degree all of the 40 program characteristics. Ninth, administrators and teachers surveyed exhibit commitment to their alternative school and are anxious to participate in research on alternative schools. Implications for further research are discussed.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

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