Browsing Educational Leadership, Administration, and Foundations by Subject "At-risk youth (Social sciences)"
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A Study of the Perceptions of Administrators and Faculty Regarding the Relevancy and Frequency of Effective Characteristics of Alternative Schools in IndianaThe purpose of this study was to conclude if there is a difference in the perceptions between alternative school directors and alternative school teachers with regards to the extent of existence of effective characteristics and the importance of effective characteristics in their alternative education programs throughout the state of Indiana. Lead directors and teachers were asked to rate the existence of 40 alternative school characteristics and the importance of these same characteristics in their respective alternative schools. Each characteristic was classified into one of seven categories: (1) School Climate, (2) Student Needs, (3) Instruction/Curriculum, (4) Student Services, (5) Faculty Needs, (6) Community Support, and (7) Leadership. The formation of these seven composite variables originated from the Perceptions of Alternative Schools Survey, in which 40 research-based questions were categorized into these seven ubiquitous elements that make the greatest impact upon the effectiveness of successful alternative schools. Demographic data about each school and biographic data on each lead director and teacher were also collected. The research instrument, Perceptions of Alternative Schools Survey, was emailed to 141 lead directors. The directors were responsible for one or more alternative education programs that filed an annual program profile with the Indiana Department of Education. Upon completion the director electronically forwarded the same survey to three certified teachers, where applicable, who were employed in their respective alternative schools. Forty-three percent of the lead directors returned the survey; while, approximately 20% of the teachers responded to the survey. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used for all statistical analysis. Frequencies and percentages were calculated for biographic and demographic data. Means and standard deviations were calculated for perceptions of existence and importance of the effective alternative school characteristics for both lead directors and certified teachers. Two MANOVA tests, one for existence and the other for importance, were conducted with the alternative school positions of lead directors and certified teachers as the two different levels of the independent variable and the mean scores of their perceptions of the seven composite alternative school characteristics as the dependent variables. After a multivariate effect was performed, follow-up ANOVA tests were conducted to compare lead directors with teachers on the existence and importance of each composite variable. If a significant univariate effect was discovered, then additional ANOVA tests were conducted to compare lead directors with teachers on the existence and on the importance of each subset of questions within the significant composite variable(s). Both lead directors and teachers reported strong agreement that 83% of the research-based characteristics existed in their alternative schools; while, both groups agreed 95% of these characteristics were very important. With respect to existence and importance, significance was not found between the perceptions of lead directors and teachers across the seven composite alternative school characteristics. However, there existed perceptional differences between lead directors and teachers in the area of school climate, especially with class size and student conduct. Additionally, there were perceptional differences of importance between lead directors and teachers in the area of instruction/curriculum, especially with high student-teacher academic expectations and individualized student instruction.