Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Maike Philipsen


This mixed methods study sought to examine student perceptions of the impact of an alternative intervention program (AIP), and provide a framework meant to inspire programs in other locations. Focusing on attendance, discipline, and academic achievement data, this study examined what factors motivate successful alternative education students to succeed upon their return to the comprehensive setting, and identify support factors that foster resiliency. Qualitative data were collected through three focus groups of students who were either new to the program, enrolled in the program for at least a nine-week period, and students who successfully completed a nine-week placement. Six adult students who completed the program and received a high school diploma were in-depth interview participants. Quantitative data were collected using student records. Results indicated differences in the students’ perception of grades earned and the actual grades received. Students were able to maintain their attendance, grades, and discipline during the alternative program enrollment, but scored lower in English and Mathematics after leaving the program than they did prior to attending the program. The fast pace and rigor of a standards-based curriculum in a comprehensive setting proved challenging for students in need of a caring, nurturing environment that offered individualized instruction. Students overwhelmingly attribute their success in the alternative program to a caring staff, and flexible scheduling within a structured environment. This study revealed the need for a more structured process to transition students from the alternative to comprehensive settings. Students could literally be in the alternative setting today and in the comprehensive setting tomorrow, with very little support or guidance. This led to repeated disciplinary offenses and for some students, their return to the alternative setting.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2009

Included in

Education Commons