Perceptions of Postsecondary Educational Opportunities of Graduates of an Alternative School Setting

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Spring 2015


Alternative educational settings are designed to meet the needs of students who are at risk of dropping out, who have already dropped out, or who are engaging in conduct severe enough to warrant removal from the mainstream setting. Alternative programs fall into one of two categories: a program that emphasizes disciplinary action or remediation commonly referred to as a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP), or a program with an academic emphasis that is designed to address students' academic needs and deficiencies. The focus of this study was on alternative education programs focused on the academic performance of at-risk students. These programs have been designed primarily to address the increasing dropout rates facing the public school system. This study sought to understand the advantages and disadvantages of being in an alternative school in terms of students' plans immediately following graduation by understanding their perceptions of their preparedness to face the challenges of postsecondary education after they graduate from the alternative school. A successful alternative program should result in a decreased dropout rate, and subsequently, an increased graduation rate. This study explored the perceptions of entering college for students identified as at-risk who were expected to graduate from an alternative school. The findings revealed three major themes that describe students perceptions of postsecondary opportunities and plans. These three themes included factors leading to postsecondary plans, progress made toward postsecondary plans, and perceptions of preparedness regarding postsecondary plans.


Ray Thompson

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Leadership | Higher Education | Secondary Education