An analysis of alternative school effectiveness on student achievement.
This study is a comparative analysis investigating student achievement, attendance rates, grade point average and credit earned by at-risk students attending an alternative high school of choice, at-risk students attending a traditional high school and at-risk students attending a Disciplinary Alternative Education Placement Campus within the same school district. Three separate groups totaling 180 students were involved in this study. Each of the three groups consisted of 60 at-risk students from one of the three campuses. All of the students participating in the study were students labeled "at-risk" of not graduating from high school and had a minimum of three or more at-risk indicators attached to each student. None of the students used in the study were in a special education program. The three different groups of at-risk students were compared in five separate categories: raw scores on the state mandated Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) on the individual Mathematics and Reading tests, attendance, credit accrual, scale scores on the TAKS Mathematics and Reading tests, and grade point averages (GPAs). In applying a test of significance a simple or one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was applied to the data sets of each campus used in the study. Statistical significance was found to be present in 7 of 13 data sets within the five categories studied. The school district involved in the study was a large 5-A district located in central Texas with an enrollment of over 8,900 students at the completion of this study. According to the research, student TAKS scores vary from year to year and tended to increase in the second year regardless of the campus students attended. Students who attended a tradition high school campus had higher attendance rates than students who attended alternative campuses. Students with three or more at-risk indicators accrued credits at a slower rate and were not likely to graduate in four years. Students with three or more at-risk indicators were successful at passing the TAKS Reading Test. Students with three or more at-risk indicators were unsuccessful in passing the TAKS Mathematics test. Students with three or more at-risk indicators and who attended an alternative high school of choice tended to have a higher GPA when compared to students attending the other campuses.