Characteristics of Effectiveness of an Alternative High School : A Follow-Up Study of its Graduates

Type of resource
Characteristics of Effectiveness of an Alternative High School : A Follow-Up Study of its Graduates
Perceptions of students in an alternative high school for dropouts run by the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal were surveyed by the author to assess school effectiveness and to relate various effectiveness factors to school outcomes. The school was founded in 1982; the author was one of three founding teachers at this alternative school. Actual effectiveness was measured in terms of achievement of the school's objectives and the success of its graduates. Forty-six students (circa 1988) rated the presence of 14 factors of effectiveness. Six factors - strictly enforced rules, the availability of teachers for extra help, high academic expectations, clear goals, frequent feedback on progress and performance, and emphasis on basic skills - were considered the salient features of the school. The author found that whereas the literature on alternative schools stresses the importance of school climate factors, these students highlighted structural ones. Fifty-seven graduates of the school provided data on those dimensions of effectiveness most important in helping them graduate. Consistent with the literature on dropouts, the two key factors were strictly enforced rules and encouragement from teachers. There were no significant differences in the respondents' perceptions of effectiveness according to their age, sex or labour-market status. The author concludes that the major contribution of the school to its graduates was a renewed belief in their capability to succeed.
Master's Essay
McGill University
# of Pages
xi-111-[24] p.
Rona, Susan. “Characteristics of Effectiveness of an Alternative High School : A Follow-Up Study of Its Graduates.” Master’s Essay, McGill University, 1988.
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