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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Lisa Ryan
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology
Title: Characteristics of Alternative Public High Schools: A National Study Using the 2003-04 Schools and Staffing Survey
Dr. Jianping Shen, Chair
Dr. Patricia Reeves
Dr. Dennis Bona
Date: Thursday, May 21, 2009 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
3306 Sangren Hall
Decreasing the high school dropout rate in the United States is gaining a great deal of national attention. One of the key strategies that has been identified to decrease dropout rate is to offer at-risk students alternatives to traditional school. This study contributes to knowledge about alternative high schools for at-risk students by using data from the large-scale, nationally representative 2003-04 Schools and Staffing Public School Survey. Using an effective schools conceptual framework, the author uses logistic regression analyses to compare the characteristics of regular and alternative public high schools. An overall model is created that could predict two thirds of the variance associated with the dependent variable. The author also conducts multiple regression analyses to determine which of the five constructs of school inputs, school structures, classroom structures, student support, and program rigor and relevance, are statistically significant predictors for the outcome measures, which include graduation rate, percent attendance at a 2-year college, percent attendance at a 4-year college, and average daily attendance at public alternative high schools for at-risk students. Several significant findings are discovered; for example, classroom structures and processes are found to be associated with graduation rate at public alternative high schools. Implications of the findings are discussed.