Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Public School Administration and Supervision






Non-formal education, High school students, Prediction of Dropout behavior



Physical Description

vii, 168 leaves 28 cm.


The study was designed to describe an urban district's alternative high school population in terms of a conceptual framework drawn from three bodies of literature: dropout studies, supplementary/compensatory education, and alternative schools studies. Educational histories prior to alternative school entry were traced through district records and documents for 757 students and a focused interview was conducted with 81 students in order to obtain their perceptions of both regular and alternative educational experiences during their school careers. A qualitative data analysis was conducted to determine the study population fit with traditional descriptors for high-risk, to examine district responses in terms of educational program experiences in both regular and alternative schools, and to obtain insights into possible relationships between the two. Overall, the sample population most clearly matched traditional personal/social descriptors for potential dropout/high-risk in terms of sex representation, between-district mobility, and because they had experienced some period of dropout. Nearly half the sample had been suspended at least once during district enrollment. There was less fit in terms of grade-level representation, minority enrollment and school achievement. Larger numbers of eleventh and twelfth graders were enrolled than the literature would suggest. Minority students, traditionally over-represented among dropouts, are under-represented in the sample programs. As a group, the population is achieving in terms of basic skills competencies tests, but over half the sample has a history of participation in supplementary/compensatory and/or other alternative programs early in their careers. Students described teachers as the most critical component of their educational experience. While an instructional "helping" relationship and its consistent contribution to student success was often noted, a more personalized teacher-student relationship was mentioned even more frequently. Students identified early in their careers for supplementary/compensatory programs reported an affective as well as achievement-oriented dimension in those experiences, and described themselves as learners dependent upon the kind and level of individualized help and attention received in those settings and in the alternative setting as well.


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Portland State University. School of Education.

Persistent Identifier