Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in School Leadership


Center for Leadership & Learning


College of Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Wayne Williams

Second Committee Member

Dr. Steve Bounds

Third Committee Member

Dr. Andrea Martin

Program Director

Dr. John Freeman

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Richard Schoephoerster


Educating all students is the foundation of education. However, an epidemic is sweeping throughout America’s schools that is threatening the very underpinning of our society. The number of students that leave school each year without a high school diploma is placing an immense personal and economic burden on the student, as well as the economic impact on society. Alternative learning environments have emerged as an intervention to provide a foundation for success for the struggling learner. This quantitative study was conducted to evaluate the perception of high school alternative learning students and high school alternative learning teachers’ perceptions of program effectiveness. Forty-seven student and 5 teacher respondents completed the 37 question Likert-type survey covering engagement, academic rigor, relationships with teachers, relationships with peers, school culture, academic interventions and behavior interventions. Independent t-tests were used to determine if the means of the variables were statistically different. Cohen’s d was used to evaluate effect size in the sample, due to the large differences in sample size between students and teachers. The findings from the study revealed that engagement, academic rigor, relationships with teachers, academic interventions, and behavior interventions were not significant, while peer relationships and school culture were significant. Cohen’s d results indicated engagement, academic rigor, peer relationships, and school culture had a large effect size, while teacher relationships, academic interventions, and behavior interventions had a medium effect size. No components revealed a small effect size. The results indicate that perception gaps do exist within the individual components, with effect size being a factor in the analysis of the results.