Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Are There Any Differences in the Perceptions of Parents, Teachers, and Administrators of the Purpose of Alternative Learning Environments?
by Edwards, Tammy Lynn, Ed.D., Arkansas State University, 2019, 137; 13898296
Abstract (Summary)

Alternative education began to surface in North America as early as the 1950s, manifesting in two different venues; in urban areas as a way to provide an alternative for students who were failing school and in suburban areas as a reinvention of the educational system by way of innovative approaches to learning. In the post A Nation at Risk (1983) report era, alternative education has been used more as a means to siphon off the sometimes undesirable ‘at-risk’ students (violent, aggressive, mentally ill, etc.) from mainstream education. The sad truth is that nearly 70 years after their first appearance, alternative learning environments are still lacking a clear purpose.

The purpose of this study was to investigate any differences in the perceptions of parents, teachers, and administrators of the purpose of alternative learning environments. This mixed methods study utilized a researcher-developed quantitative Qualtrics survey in tandem with a qualitative voluntary phone interview.

The findings of this study suggest that some minimal consensus exists among parents, teachers, and administrators as to the characteristics of alternative learning environments. However, beyond that, perceptions tend to differ as to the curriculum / instruction, structure, quality / rigor, and success / meeting needs of alternative learning students. Overall, the research findings can be used by districts to better and more strategically design alternative learning environments to meet the specific needs of their at-risk students. In addition, the findings of this study should act as a springboard to facilitate honest communication among parents, teachers, and administrators as to what alternative learning environments can and should do to prepare at-risk students for re-entry into mainstream education.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Saleh, Amany
Commitee: Covey, Nicole, Grymes, Joanna, Nichols, Joe, Towery, Ron
School: Arkansas State University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Arkansas
Source: DAI-A 81/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational leadership, Curriculum development, Special education
Keywords: ALE, Alternative learning, structure
Publication Number: 13898296
ISBN: 9781085795265
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