Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Louise L. MacKay

Committee Members

Kathryn K. Franklin, Patricia Robertson, Terrence A. Tollefson


Student success and motivation are issues that baffle parents and educators. Various factors go a long way in explaining why these educational phenomena occur. Current research has confirmed that issues such as parental involvement, home life, attitude, intellect, and teacher and student relations and rapport have an impact on motivation and future success of students. This research project focused on students' perceptions of factors that affect their success and achievement. These factors were categorized into four areas: intrapersonal influences, parental influences, educational influences, and external influences. These areas were explored in an attempt to promote an awareness of the factors necessary for student success.

The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of honor and at-risk high school students regarding achievement factors. The method of acquiring information for this phenomenological study was exclusively through indepth interviews. The study was limited to 16 students at a specific Northeast Tennessee high school. Sixteen students were selected from a stratified purposeful sample. Eight students were selected from the top 10% of their class and eight students were selected from the bottom 10% of their class. Each interview contained semistructured and open-ended questions. The questions were prewritten but flexible in interview presentation.

The results of this study should promote an awareness of the factors that foster success and those that are detrimental to the success of all students. This awareness might motivate educators to work harder at preventing students from slipping through the cracks. 

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.