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Alternative education for Nebraska high school students at risk of failure or drop-out status: A mixed methods study

Amy Romshek, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This mixed methods explanatory study described the condition of alternative education for public high school students in Nebraska. Particular programs studied were those designed to help struggling students graduate or make progress toward graduation. In the first quantitative phase, a survey instrument collected descriptive data from lead educators (n = 62) in alternative programs. The survey yielded a 95% response rate. Specific subcategories related to purpose, organizational procedures, school culture, academic program, school-linked services, systematic evaluation and local support were examined. Nearly 75% of the participants indicated high levels of agreement within all subcategories. The strongest subcategories proved to be organizational procedures and school culture. The weakest subcategory proved to be purpose. ^ Within the second qualitative phase, interviews were conducted with seven purposely-selected participants from sites indicating high points of implementation with quality indicators. Participants were selected using weighted total scores calculated from the survey results. Important themes found within the cases were reconnecting students to learning, changing the learning environment, conducting a detailed student intake process, and the opportunity for career exploration. ^ The mixing of the quantitative and qualitative results occurred in the interpretation of the study. For the most part, the quantitative and qualitative findings of the study supported the findings in the literature. Quality indicators were both unique and common due to the individual nature of the alternative programs. The findings identified program evaluation and communication as areas to improve. Additionally, the findings exemplified the importance of on-going collaboration between staff members and program promotion to stakeholders. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Secondary

Recommended Citation

Romshek, Amy, "Alternative education for Nebraska high school students at risk of failure or drop-out status: A mixed methods study" (2007). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3271924.