Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A study of high-performing at-risk high school students and their perceptions on academic success and achievement
by Pak, Charles H., Ed.D., Pepperdine University, 2015, 165; 3731890
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to explore and describe the school factors experienced by students at an alternative high school with an independent study program and a 90% CASHEE passage rate and to identify those factors, if any, that students perceived as contributing to their improved academic performance. The school factors included: the nature and quality of the school learning environment, learning experiences, program interventions, and the independent study program. This study was guided by the following 5 research questions: 1. How do students who have been enrolled at SMHS for at least 1 year and who have demonstrated an increase in their academics view the school’s learning environment? 2. How do students who have been enrolled at SMHS for at least 1 year and who have demonstrated an increase in their academics view the school’s learning experience? 3. How do students who have been enrolled at SMHS for at least 1 year and who have demonstrated an increase in their academics view the school’s program interventions? 4. How do students who have been enrolled at SMHS for at least 1 year and who have demonstrated an increase in their academics view the independent study program? 5. How, if at all, have these 4 school factors contributed to improved academic performance?

The research study examined 17 high-performing at-risk students’ perceptions regarding academic achievement and success within a charter school environment that utilized an independent study format. This study’s findings led to the conclusion that successful alternative high school students perceived teachers as the most important school factor influencing their academic performance. Specifically, teachers influenced student academic performance through 1:1, caring, supportive relationships. Second, a physically and emotionally safe learning environment was found to be essential for at-risk students to feel comfortable and able to concentrate on their academics. Third, extracurricular activities such as sports and student council helped build student retention and motivation in school. Lastly, providing students with the guidance, opportunity, and support necessary to allow them to take charge of their own education and learning helped them to be more responsible and successful.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Purrington, Linda
Commitee: Barner, Robert, McCabe, Molly
School: Pepperdine University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 77/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational tests & measurements, Educational leadership, Education
Keywords: At-risk youth, Disadvantaged youth, Motivation, School factors
Publication Number: 3731890
ISBN: 9781339184463
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