The effects of an academic alternative high school on academically at-risk students

Mark L Winningham, Tennessee State University


In a causal-comparative research design, this study investigated the effectiveness of an academic alternative school in improving at-risk student outcomes in a selected county school system in the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee. The academic alternative high school was compared to a traditional high school serving at-risk populations. Graduation outcomes over a three year period (2007-2008, 2008-2009, and 2009-2010) were utilized for this study. A matched control group at the academic alternative school was compared to a non-control group at the traditional high school. Comparisons were made to determine if a relationship existed between the two groups of students. There were five hypotheses for which a Binary Logistic Regression was performed at the 0.05 level of significance. One Hypothesis, involving the number of credits students had earned entering their senior year, was rejected. There was a statistically significant relationship found regarding the number of credits students had earned and their graduation outcomes. Four null hypotheses were retained, because no statistically significant relationship was found in student outcomes among the variables, grade point average, school attended, gender, socioeconomic status, or teen parents. The results of the study showed that if students were able to earn additional credits they were more likely to graduate high school than their peers who were unable to earn additional credits. A recommendation made for practice is the establishment of credit recovery programs in traditional high schools to be used as a means by which students can earn credits lost as a result of failure. Another recommendation is to establish academic alternative schools that provide credit recovery as an option for those students considered academically at-risk. A recommendation for further research is to conduct a study comparing academic alternative schools to traditional high schools using a larger sample than the sample size available in this study.

Subject Area

School administration|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Mark L Winningham, "The effects of an academic alternative high school on academically at-risk students" (2012). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3508213.