Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Cheryl Magill


The purpose of this research was to determine teachers’ perceptions of the degree to which research-based characteristics exist in alternative high schools and programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the importance of these characteristics to effective education. In addition, this research investigated whether or not these perceptions were related to the teachers’ perception of efficacy. These seven characteristics were (a) clearly identified enrollment criteria, (b) low ratio of student to teachers, (c) one-to-one interactions between staff and students, (d) social skills instruction, (e) effective academic instruction, (f) parental involvement and parental support programs, and (g) specific training for teachers who are working with at-risk youth. Alternative school teachers were also administered the short form of the Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk Hoy (2001) Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale that is specifically designed to assess the respondents’ perceptions of their self-efficacy as teachers. The data show that alternative school teachers in Virginia ranked “low student to staff ratio” as the most important and “parental involvement and parental support programs” as the least important research-based characteristics for the academic focus of their schools. It was also evidenced by the data that none of the research-based characteristics were shown to have “strong evidence” of existence in Virginia’s alternative schools and programs. Finally, the data showed that there is a positive correlation between the existence of the research-based characteristics and the reported self-efficacy of the alternative school teachers.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

January 2011

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